Wyden, Merkley Announce $6.7 million in Funding for Agriculture Research Included in Appropriations Bill
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D- Ore.) and Jeff Merkley (D- Ore.) announced today that an agriculture appropriations bill headed to the Senate floor includes more than $6.7 million in projects providing research into agricultural methods to help create more jobs and boost efficiency in Oregon’s agricultural sector. The Senate Appropriations committee approved the bill on Thursday.
“Oregon is very much a state of growers and innovators,” Wyden said. “This funding will help researchers make breakthroughs in 21st century agricultural practices and help Oregon’s farmers and growers operate more efficiently and create more jobs.”
“Oregon farmers have the potential to become nation-wide leaders in sustainable farming and exporters of organic goods to the rest of the country,” said Merkley. “These funds will advance research to control crop-killing pests and give Oregon farmers the tools they need to grow sustainable crops and boost long-term productivity.”
The bill is expected to be considered by the full Senate and upon passage will be reconciled with the version passed by the House of Representatives and sent to the President for his signature.
Projects included in the agriculture appropriations bill include:
Wood Utilization Research (WUR) Center - $4,841,000 – Oregon State University (shared with several states)
The WUR Program provides innovative science, technology and advanced business practices research and graduate education. Funds will support new initiatives in the development of bioproducts, composite materials, bio-based energy and nanotechnology that can help position Oregon to be a leader in these fields in the Western US and enhance competitiveness of domestic industry.
Endophyte Research - $994,000 – Oregon State University
This project seeks to alleviate the toxic effects of fungal endophyte-infected grasses fed to cattle and other livestock while maintaining and improving the grass’s ability to persist on poor soils and during drought. Endophyte toxicosis costs $1 billion in losses to U.S. livestock producers annually. Exports of U.S. grass products have also been greatly restricted due to the presence of high concentrations of endophyte toxins in U.S. products.
Small Fruit Research - $285,000 – Oregon State University (shared with several states)
These funds would provide for competitive grants to enhance profitability and sustainability for a number of crops including blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, cranberries, table grapes, wine grapes, huckleberries, gooseberries, and black currants.
Northwest Center for Small Fruits Research, Small Fruits Initiative Plant Improvement - $275,000
Funds will be used for a Small Fruit Pathology Program, Site Feasibility Study and Phase-one Design for Additional or New Research Facilities, and Competitive Research Grants which involves cooperation between industry, State and Federal research.
Organic Cropping Research for the Northwest - $142,000 – Oregon State University
Project aims to increase the efficiency of Oregon's organic farmers, enabling them to improve profitability, meet a larger portion of the demand for organic products, and be more competitive in the international market place, while protecting and enhancing Oregon's natural resources.
Grass Seed Cropping Systems for Sustainable Agriculture - $142,000 – Oregon State University (shared with Washington State University)
For research into sustainable production of grass seed, a major Oregon export, aimed at addressing critical environmental and economic challenges including the phase-out of open-field burning. The project covers Oregon, Idaho and Washington, with Oregon-based scientists typically receiving more than half of available funds.
Bioremediation Research - $111,111 – Oregon State University
Funds requested for this project would be used to study the absorption potential of three grass species – tall fescue, perennial ryegrass, and orchard grass – and continue efforts to develop an economically and environmentally-friendly method of bioremediating munitions residues using plants and animals.
In addition to the funding listed above, the committee included language in its report supporting the following projects:
Seaside School District Relocation
This project will move Seaside School District facilities out of the tsunami zone, as recommended by the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries.
Northeast Oregon Grown Meat Processing Development Plan
This project will conduct a comprehensive analysis of upgrading existing custom-exempt slaughter and processing plants to USDA inspected capability.
City of Riddle Wastewater Plant Upgrade
This project will complete needed improvements to the City’s wastewater treatment plant.
Hubbard Creek Impoundment Improvement Project
This project will enlarge the Hubbard Creek Impoundment, to ensure that the City of Port Orford has sufficient water for the community’s needs.
Hubbard Creek Water Distribution Improvement Project
This project will replace deteriorated waterlines and pump stations within the City.
Spalding Avenue Sewage Pump Station
This project will install a sewer system to service a 65-acre piece of land currently zoned for industrial use in the City of Grants Pass.