Two House Representatives, Kim Schrier (WA-08) and Tracey Mann (KS-01), unveiled a bill last week aimed at bolstering funding for agricultural research institutions, specifically Central Washington University and Washington State University.
Named the AG RESEARCH Act, the proposed legislation would authorize $1 billion in mandatory spending and an additional $1 billion in discretionary spending over a five-year period. The funds would be allocated as infrastructure grants for agricultural research facilities.
Schrier emphasized the importance of supporting farmers amidst a changing climate and increasing pressure on the food supply. Research institutions play a crucial role in addressing the challenges faced by the agricultural industry. Highlighting the concerns regarding the condition of Washington's research facilities, Derek Sandison, the director of the Washington State Department of Agriculture, stressed the need for focused attention and investment in infrastructure.
Washington State University expressed its priority in securing substantial funding for the Research Facilities Act, as several aging buildings require repairs. WSU President Kirk Schulz emphasized the necessity of bringing their facilities into the 21st century to sustain a globally competitive agriculture economy, meet national food demands, and educate future ag professionals.