On my Feenstra Agriculture Tour, I have met with countless farmers and producers to discuss the upcoming Farm Bill and commonsense policies that will protect the productivity, profitability, and international competitiveness of Iowa agriculture. From maintaining like-kind exchange and step-up in basis to defending vital crop insurance programs, our farmers rely on economic certainty and policy consistency to feed and fuel our country and the world. However, based on my conversations with producers, one sector that requires additional and immediate attention is agricultural research and development.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, China allocates roughly $10 billion towards agriculture research and development, which is twice the amount that the United States spends. This trend is particularly alarming given that China imports billions of dollars’ worth of American agricultural products every year. In fact, just last fiscal year, China imported $36.4 billion in agricultural goods, underscoring the need to expand agricultural research here at home. If we are going to remain competitive in global markets and stop China from buying fertile American farmland, we must provide our nation’s brightest minds with the resources and support they need to power American agriculture and support Iowa farmers.
That’s why I introduced the Advancing Cutting Edge (ACE) Agriculture Act with my colleague Rep. Jimmy Panetta – who also serves on the House Agriculture Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee – to double funding from $50 million to $100 million for the Agriculture Research and Development Authority (AgARDA) administered through the USDA. AgARDA supports high-risk, high-reward projects that seek to lower input costs for farmers, increase crop yields, protect soil health, and mitigate the devastating impacts of severe weather. My legislation also expands the scope of the program to address animal and plant pathogens and pests that can harm farm productivity and study efforts to help farmers conserve water and combat drought.
Between deploying an illegal spy balloon over our sovereign airspace and infiltrating rural America through reckless farmland purchases, China will stop at nothing to destroy American global leadership and threaten our food security. In Congress, I will continue to stand up to China and demand that we invest in advanced agricultural research, which is vital to the success of our family farmers and rural main streets in Iowa.
We are government together, and your thoughts and opinions matter to me. Please contact my office at Feenstra.House.Gov or by phone at 202-225-4426 if I can ever be of assistance. I am proud to represent our families, farmers, main street businesses, and rural communities in Congress.