“FedByScience” is an initiative intended to boost federal investment in agricultural research. It was recently launched by the Supporters of Agricultural Research Foundation.

The initiative focuses on showing policymakers and the public the ways U.S. Department of Agriculture-funded universities and researchers are creating a safer, healthier and more productive food system, according to the organizers.

“Access to safe nutritious food and a healthy environment is a fundamental human right,” said Kathryn Boor, dean of Cornell University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and co-chair of FedbyScience. “The need for healthy food will only grow as we look to the future. There is no issue of greater importance for our experts in the agricultural and food sciences, and few more deserving of federal support.”

Ronnie Green, chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and “FedbyScience” co-chair, said, “U.S. farmers are confronted by turbulent commodity markets, extreme weather and an uneven economy. A stronger investment in agricultural research can provide the science and innovation that farmers need to navigate these obstacles. Universities are now joining together to ensure our stories about the value of food and agricultural research are heard.”

FedByScience launched with two briefings for Senate and House of Representatives staff; it was timed with the release of the 2018 House Farm Bill. According to “FedbyScience,” America’s agricultural-research budget has declined in real dollars since 2003. The United States has been second to China in public agricultural-research funding since 2008.

“As researchers we consider it our jobs to provide real-world solutions,” said Lisa Schulte Moore, professor of natural-resource ecology and management at Iowa State University. “But solid science, and training the next generation of problem-solvers, requires additional investment into our nation’s future.”

Thomas Grumbly, president of the Supporters of Agricultural Research Foundation, said, “There’s so much that federally funded food and agricultural research has accomplished, but these stories need a broader audience.”

The foundation is collaborating with 16 university partners – such as the University of Wisconsin-Madison – to make the initiative a reality. Other participating universities are Colorado State University, Cornell University, Iowa State University, Kansas State University, Michigan State University, New Mexico State University, North Carolina State University, Purdue University, Texas A&M University, University of California at Davis, University of Florida, University of Georgia, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Washington University in St. Louis. Visit fedbyscience.org for more information.