Senate Approves Funding for Agricultural Research Programs

Senators Paul S. Sarbanes (D-MD) and Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD) today announced that the Senate has approved the Agriculture Appropriations bill for fiscal year 2006, which contains federal funding for agricultural research programs, initiatives and upgrades at facilities throughout the State of Maryland.

"This funding will help carry-on needed research activities that help many of our farmers and our agricultural economy throughout the State of Maryland," said Sarbanes. "In addition, funding for these programs at BARC and other Maryland institutions reinforces the quality work of those who are involved in the day-to-day research on these many problems."

"This federal funding is good news for Maryland's agriculture, public health and the Chesapeake Bay. From detecting, controlling and eradicating avian flu, to combating obesity, to finding alternative uses for tobacco, these funds will ensure that critical research activities continue," said Senator Mikulski. "I applaud the people who work on Maryland's farms, and in our federal labs, universities and other research facilities for their commitment to our State. I will continue to fight to put money in the federal checkbook to support their important work."

The federal funding announced today includes:

More than $11 million is being allocated nationwide for on-going efforts to detect, control and eradicate avian influenza that has adversely impacted the poultry industry in the State of Maryland and across the country;

$4 million for building modernization to the Human Nutrition Center at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center;

$720,000 for the Maryland Center for Agro-Ecology in Queen Anne's County for two continuing programs. $406,000 will be used to convene environmental, business and elected leaders to develop a consensus on research, education and policy programs in the agricultural sector; and $314,000 will be provided as part of the Chesapeake Bay Agro-Ecology Program which is responsible for research into the toxic micro-organism Pfiesteria along the Atlantic Seaboard. Maryland has been making substantial headway in implementing agricultural nutrient management, soil conservation and other nutrient reduction strategies that help to address the Pfiesteria problem;

$500,000 for food and nutrition researchers at the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center to carry out research and studies that will help better understand dietary and other problems associated with obesity; and

$300,000 for the Alternative Tobacco Program at the University of Maryland. This research is working to develop new non-smoking uses for tobacco and explores the many uses for the plant. Successful development of an alternative tobacco program could help maintain an agricultural base in Southern Maryland, where tobacco production had been at the heart of agriculture production for more than three centuries.

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