The Future of Agriculture is at Risk

The Lempert Report
June 11, 2019

It's equal parts Climate Change and underfunding for Ag Research

The Alabama Farmers Federation is calling on Congress to increase support for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

Since 1921, the Farmers Federation has worked to build public support for agriculture and forestry. Securing funding for research at Alabama’s land grant universities was an early focus of the organization, and it remains a priority today. 

Farmers set aside a portion of their harvest revenue to fund education, promotion and research through check-off programs each year – which is getting tougher and tougher to do as weather conditions have been taking away profit from many farmers across the nation. These voluntary efforts have provided millions of dollars to universities and other research institutions.  

Public investment is needed, according to the Farmers Federation, to ensure American agriculture and forestry remain globally competitive. In recent years, Brazil and China have outpaced America’s commitment to food and agricultural research. China is now investing twice as much as the U.S. on potentially groundbreaking research to help farmers feed, clothe and shelter a growing world.

By pairing the scientific curiosity and initiative of researchers with the innovation and hard work of farmers, America became the world leader in agriculture. Our farmers learned to produce more food and fiber with fewer inputs. We developed conservation practices to reduce erosion and create habitat for wildlife. Families were given access to a greater variety of high-quality, nutritious food. And, we were able to export much of this technology to help poor and impoverished people around the world.

Jimmy Parnell, the president, CEO and chairman of the Board of the Alabama Farmers Federation says that if the U.S. is to remain the leader in agriculture, we must invest in the future.