The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry held a hearing yesterday, Agricultural Research and Securing the United States Food Supply, to look at the role of agricultural research in protecting the food supply. Below, some highlights.
“Agriculture research drives change, efficiencies, and productivity,”said Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) to open his final hearing as chairman of the committee. “It is the foundation that supports our modern food system miracle. It is essential considering the growing chaos, hunger, and malnutrition in our world.”
“We must take a fresh look at what agricultural security means in terms of the defense of the agriculture sector and our food supply. This begins with continued support for agricultural research,” he continued.
"We know that accelerating agricultural research is vital to feeding a growing global population and addressing the climate crisis, which threatens farmers’ livelihoods and our entire food system. From floods, to drought, farmers are already seeing the devastating impacts of extreme weather. In fact, the GAO estimates that climate change will result in crop losses that could cost up to $53 billion annually by the end of the century,” said Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) in her opening remarks.
We need continued investment into critical federal research programs, BIO said in our comments, to spur private investment into new biotechnologies—from gene editing and synthetic biology, to sustainable biofuels and biobased products.
BIO’s take: “Fostering agricultural research will not only secure the United States food supply but will allow the U.S. to advance innovative breakthroughs to enable agriculture to tackle climate change and tackle hunger. However, to truly unleash the transformative potential of science and we must take steps to ensure the gains from these innovations are broadly shared for the benefit of humanity. BIO looks forward to working with the Committee and Congress in supporting pro-innovation policies that foster research and development technologies to secure the nation’s food supply and develop the bioeconomy.”
More Agriculture and Environment News:
BBC: Temperature analysis shows UN goals 'within reach'
“The Climate Action Tracker group looked at new climate promises from China and other nations, along with the carbon plans of US President-elect Joe Biden. These commitments would mean the rise in world temperatures could be held to 2.1C by the end of this century.”
Fast Company: Your Amazon boxes could be turned into biofuel
A team of scientists “cultivated its own microorganism to transform used cardboard boxes into a substance that can be easily refined into biofuel.”
The New York Times: A hotter planet is already killing Americans, health experts warn
A new report “points to the immediate dangers of extreme heat, wildfires, and air pollution, and makes the case for rapidly shifting to a green economy as a way to improve public health.”