The National Pork Producers Council wants Congress to renew its commitment to funding ag research. That was the message during testimony on Thursday before a subcommittee of the House Space, Science, and Technology Committee. NPPC Chief Veterinarian Dr. Liz Wagner told the Subcommittee on Research and Technology that the U.S. is the most technologically innovative food producer in the world. America also has the safest and most affordable food supply in the world.
All of that is because of a commitment to agricultural research. As an example, Wagner said research helped the pork industry deal with the Porcine Reproductive and Respiratory Virus, as well as the H1N1 virus. Wagner says a virus that the pork industry is particularly concerned about is Foot-and-Mouth Disease. The U.S. doesn’t have enough FMD vaccine on hand to deal with a potential outbreak. An unchecked outbreak of FMD would cost the pork, corn, and soybean sectors over $200 billion dollars through the next ten years.
Wagner said the federal commitment to research has dropped off in recent decades. Between 1970 and 2008, half of the USDA budget went to research. By 2013, that number had dropped to 30 percent.