July, 2022

    August 25, 2022

     

    Legislative Action
    In recent weeks there has been significant legislative activity in Congress, but there is still much work to do. Congress passed the Creating Helpful Incentives to Produce Semiconductors (CHIPS) and Science Act of 2022 to promote domestic manufacturing of semiconductor chips. This bill did pass with bi-partisan support in each house. The centerpiece of the bill is $52.7 billion in subsidies for US computer chip manufacturing. In addition, the bill provides critical reauthorization for US research agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the Department of Energy's Office of Science, and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology. The bill also authorizes a new use-inspired research technology directorate at NSF, enabling the world's preeminent fundamental science research agency to add new efforts to bolster American innovation. The bill does includes $200 billion for research across agencies; $81 billion goes to NSF.

    In a major breakthrough, Congress, on a party line vote, passed and President Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022, commonly referred to as the Reconciliation Act. The legislation is promoted as a tax, climate, and healthcare package, but it does include research funding of $40 billion for smart agriculture and biofuels.

    It is hoped that passage of the Reconciliation Act will allow agency budgets, including USDA, to move forward; however, given the pending mid-term elections, final action is likely to be delayed until late in the year. This means that one or more continuing resolutions will be needed to allow agencies to continue to operate. Looking at where things stand now, the House has passed their version of the FY23 Budget, and the Senate has introduced theirs. Here are some current comparisons:

    Comparison of proposed FY23 funding for R&D with FY22

    Proposed funding for USDA research areas

    Items of interest from the Senate Bill include the following:

    • The bill includes $250 million for the APHIS Agricultural Quarantine Inspection Program;
    • It provides $10 million for the ARS Dairy Forage Research Center facilities;
    • It includes $14 million for the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative; and
    • It includes $1 million for work with cover crops.

    A reminder, until final action is passed in both houses and the bill is signed by the President, these are proposed numbers that are subject to change. If the election changes control of either house, these numbers may look significantly different when final action is taken, but they represent the current funding track, which is very positive for research.

    Farm Bill Update
    An important part of the oversight and review process for the 2018 Farm Bill and a critical part of the preparation for the 2023 Farm Bill is getting direct input from producers, stakeholders, and consumers on how various Farm Bill programs are working for them. Both the House and the Senate have held hearings on specific aspects of the legislation and have begun going to the country for listening sessions in various states to gather input from stakeholders.

    In addition to in-person meetings, House Agriculture Committee Chair David Scott and Ranking Member Glenn "GT" Thompson are offering the opportunity for members of the public to submit their feedback and ideas for the 2023 Farm Bill through an online form available here.

    Chair Scott says, "I strongly encourage all who are interested to share their input on how the 2018 Farm Bill is or is not meeting their needs so that we, at the House Agriculture Committee, can craft a strong Farm Bill and best meet the needs of people."

    Watch for opportunities to provide in-person input, but the online form is a convenient way to provide your thoughts on agricultural research and other issues.

    NCFAR's "Lunch-n-Learn" Webinar
    NCFAR, of which FASS is a member, each year hosts a series of webinars designed to educate and empower staff on Capitol Hill and policy stakeholders about the value of and need for public investment in food and agricultural research. NCFAR's popular Lunch-n-Learn series and webinars feature experts from institutions across the country sharing expertise on a wide range of topics. Although the target is policy makers, the webinars are open and likely of interest to all. The next webinar, Helping Americans Meet the Dietary Guidelines—Advances and Opportunities in Food Science and Technology, will be held on September 13, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. EDT.

    For more than 40 years, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) have provided science-based guidance for healthy eating, yet the quality of American diets has shown limited improvement. In 2021 a diverse group of thought leaders in health, nutrition, and food science convened at a workshop hosted by IFT and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, supported by USDA/NIFA, to discuss opportunities to help consumers meet dietary guidelines. Key opportunities identified included advancing food science and technology research and broadening public–private collaborations to develop safe, affordable, and accessible nutrient-dense foods. This webinar will discuss these key recommendations in greater detail and what steps can be taken to advance innovations and empower consumers to make positive shifts toward healthier eating. Click here for more information and to register.

    Farm Bill Priorities—We are seeking input on priorities for Animal Agriculture in the 2023 Farm Bill. We invite you to take a few minutes to use the input form to share your ideas. Please return the form to keolson@prodigy.net

    The AJCC Research Foundation Seeks Research Proposals for 2023
    The AJCC Research Foundation provides support for projects addressing significant issues relative to the Jersey breed of cattle and Jersey owners. Since 1988 more than $1,000,000 has been provided in support of such research. Funding is in the form of seed money and has averaged $8,900 per project since 2011. The Foundation's current priorities are as follows:

    • Nutrition of high-producing Jerseys, particularly practical feeding methods to maximize production of valuable milk components;
    • Factors affecting management of Jersey calves;
    • Factors affecting semen production of Jersey bulls;
    • Factors affecting yield and quality of products manufactured from Jersey milk;
    • Factors affecting economic impact of Jerseys: efficiencies, net income, longevity, and lifetime profit;
    • Optimizing the genetic basis for improving animal health and enhancing product quality;
    • Enhancing environmental impact associated with Jerseys;
    • New technologies for safe and sustainable food production from Jersey cattle; and
    • Feasibility of adding value and increasing consumer acceptance of Jersey-derived products through enhanced product quality and branding.

    Click here for further information regarding the Foundation's priorities, submission requirements, and the responsibilities of recipients. The submission deadline will be December 1, 2022.

    A Grant Opportunity to Enhance STEM Dialogue
    Applications for the Research!America Civic Engagement Microgrant Program are now open. Grants will provide support for groups led by STEM graduate students, professional students, and postdocs to create projects aimed at building dialogue with public officials, community leaders, and local community members about issues of common interest. It should provide an opportunity to share with others the value and importance of research. Past grantees have developed initiatives including podcast series, poster sessions with city council members, K-12 STEM projects, and professional development workshops. Apply by August 31.

    The White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health
    The White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health will be hosted in September 2022. The five pillars below define the scope of the conference. They are meant to help identify actions that can be taken by all parts of society—including the federal government; local, state, territory, and Tribal governments; nonprofit and community groups; and private companies.

    Check back soon for more details about the conference, including how to get involved to share your ideas and expertise.

    White House Conference Pillars

    1. Improve food access and affordability
    2. Integrate nutrition and health
    3. Empower all consumers to make and have access to healthy choices
    4. Support physical activity for all
    5. Enhance nutrition and food security research

    FASS Science Policy Committee
    The FASS Science Policy Committee meets via Zoom call. The group continues to make progress on updating the FASS Science Policy Statements and planning activities to advance animal agriculture research.

    At the meeting on August 4, 2022, John McNamara was approved as a member of the committee. McNamara is a past chair of the committee and was recently appointed to the Board on Agriculture and Natural Resources of the National Academies. He is committed to supporting scientific research and education at state and national levels.

    Please contact me if you have questions, ideas, or suggestions on any of the FASS Science Policy Statements or other policy issues. Also, please share your Farm Bill priorities. We will provide additional information on the issues as it becomes available. We need to work together to maintain a strong and effective national research effort.

    If you are interested in serving on the Science Policy Committee or communicating occasionally with members of Congress on issues related to animal agriculture, we are looking for FASS science policy advocates. Please contact me for details on that or with any questions on items in the report.

    Ken Olson, PhD, PAS
    FASS Science Policy Coordinator
    keolson@prodigy.net