June, 2022

    July 13, 2022

     

    FY23 Budget Status
    On June 23 the House Appropriations Committee approved its fiscal 2023 Agriculture-FDA spending bill, H.R. 8239 (117), by a vote of 31–26. The legislation includes $27.2 billion in discretionary funding for the Agriculture Department, Food and Drug Administration, and related programs, an increase of $2.08 billion (8%) above current funding levels, but $350 million below President Joe Biden’s budget request.

    What’s in the bill? Agricultural Programs (Title I), which includes most research programs, provides $8.5 billion for agricultural programs, an increase of $431 million from fiscal 2022, but $293 million less than the White House’s request.

    The total includes
    — $1.79 billion for the Agricultural Research Service
    — $1.77 billion for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture
    — $1.17 billion for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service
    — $1.85 billion for the Agricultural Marketing Service program
    — $1.18 billion for the Food Safety and Inspection Service

    What’s next? The first hurdle has been cleared with committee approval of the bill, but approval by both the full House and the Senate, along with the conference committee, is required before it can go to the president for his signature. In most years, House leaders ultimately bundle multiple spending bills into packages, either omnibus or minibus, to speed floor consideration. But even with the use of so-called minibus packages, Congress is not likely to enact its fiscal 2023 spending bills before the new fiscal year begins on October 1, 2022. This means that Agriculture-FDA provisions will likely need funding that would be provided through continuing resolutions to keep operating at current levels until at least December. If control of either house of Congress changes, things become even more uncertain and likely less favorable for research funding.

    The Senate had not begun work on its fiscal 2023 bills before departing for the July Fourth recess, so it is important to talk with your senators about the value and importance of funding for agricultural research as their proposal is developed.

    Farm Bill Preparation
    NCFAR and the SoAR Foundation have formed a partnership to develop recommendations for the 2023 Farm Bill. This is a collaborative process to identify big-picture goals for the farm bill and support NCFAR’s goal of building a big tent in support of federal research. It will be important to engage with producer organizations in the process, so that they include research as a farm bill priority. Preliminary feedback to NCFAR and SoAR has identified the following areas as providing the greatest opportunity for agriculture in the coming bill:

    • Climate change
    • Sustainability/regenerative farming
    • Nutrition security
    • Research funding

    Members of the groups will be meeting on July 27 to move the process forward. Preparedness is starting to crystallize as a theme to use in pulling the pieces together for consistency in advocacy. If you have suggestions on priorities, please share them with keolson@prodigy.net.

    Understanding and Addressing Misinformation About Science
    Misinformation about science has been and continues to be a significant concern as we seek to address the many challenges that lie ahead. Misinformation undermines support for research funding and the use of science to address all types of challenges facing society. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine is establishing a Committee on Understanding and Addressing Misinformation about Science. They will soon be undertaking a study to examine the evidence base, engage stakeholders, and develop conclusions, recommendations, and a research agenda on the subject. The committee’s final report will

    • Define misinformation and disinformation about science.
    • Describe the scope and nature of misinformation about science, considering the historical context and describing any ways that the problem and impacts differ across communities and social groups in the United States.
    • Develop a holistic framework for understanding the influences, mechanisms, and impacts of misinformation, applying a systems approach that considers the relationships between and impacts on individuals, groups, and societal dynamics. Case studies may be used to examine how these mechanisms and impacts differ across communities by characteristics such as race and ethnicity, social class, political affiliation, religious affiliation, or geographical region.
    • Examine existing interventions that address misinformation about science.
    • Identify the ethical considerations that should guide future interventions (including unintended consequences of those interventions) and research on misinformation about science.
    • Recommend priorities for actions to reduce harms from misinformation about science.
    • Identify priorities for future research.

    The study will be carried out by a committee of approximately fourteen volunteer experts in the fields of

    • Science communication
    • Psychology
    • Political science
    • Health communication
    • History of science
    • Ethics
    • Network science

    Click here to learn more about the study and opportunities to participate.

    NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences
    Your assistance is requested to help identify outstanding candidates for the 2023 NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences.

    The NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences recognizes research by a mid-career scientist (defined as up to twenty years since completion of PhD) at a US institution who has made an extraordinary contribution to agriculture or to the understanding of the biology of a species fundamentally important to agriculture or food production. For the purpose of the prize, areas of science with applications to agriculture include plant and animal sciences, microbiology, nutrition and food science, soil science, entomology, veterinary medicine, and agricultural economics. The recipient will be awarded a medal and a $100,000 prize. Additional information, including past recipients, eligibility requirements, and more can be found at http://bit.ly/NASFoodAg.

    All nominations must be submitted online. Unless otherwise stated, the following materials must be submitted:

    1. A letter from the nominator describing the candidate’s work and why he or she should be selected for the award. No more than three (3) pages.
    2. Curriculum vitae. No more than two (2) pages (similar to CVs included with NSF proposals).
    3. Bibliography listing no more than twelve (12) of the nominee’s most significant publications.
    4. Suggested citation. A 50-word summary stating why the nominee should be considered for this award. (Citation examples.)
    5. Two letters of support. Support letters must be written by individuals from institutions outside both the nominator’s and the nominee’s institution. Up to three letters of support are accepted.

    Nominations accepted through Monday, October 3, 2022. Please help spread the word that the nomination process is underway.

    Sincerely,

    The NAS Prize in Food and Agriculture Sciences Selection Committee

    FASS Science Policy Committee
    The FASS Science Policy Committee meets via Zoom. The group continues to make progress on updating the FASS Science Policy Statements and plan activities to advance animal agriculture research. Please contact me if you have questions, ideas, or suggestions on any of these or other policy issues. We will provide additional information 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