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Poultry scientists urge research investments

Representatives of the Poultry Science Association (PSA) joined a group of more than 30 scientists and leaders from a variety of organizations in a recent visit to Washington, D.C., to drive greater awareness of the need for additional funding for food-related research.

The visits were part of the 5th annual Coalition on Funding Agricultural Research Missions (CoFARM) and Biological and Ecological Science Coalition (BESC) Congressional Visits Day Event (CVD), held 21-22 April.

This year’s event called for increased federal investment in research at the National Science Foundation (NSF) and in the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program – investments that, according to PSA and the other participants, are essential to US global leadership. Participants held briefings with Administration officials and Congressional leaders and staff.

Representing the Poultry Science Association through CoFARM were Dr. William W. Saylor (University of Delaware, Department of Animal & Food Sciences), Dr. James W. Kessler (Executive Director, PSA; Murrieta, CA), and Dr. Mary M. Beck (Clemson University, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences). 

Each Congressional office visit highlighted the role research plays in helping to address the many issues associated with the nation’s security, food supply, and health. Participants emphasized that research is an investment for the future, not simply a current expense.

Member offices visited by PSA participants included Delaware’s Senator Tom Carper and Senator Ted Kaufman; California’s Senator Barbara Boxer, Representative Mary Bono-Mark, and Senator Dianne Feinstein; and the offices of South Carolina’s Congressman J. Gresham Barrett, Senator Lindsey Graham and Senator Jim DeMint.

In their meetings with Congressional Members, PSA’s delegates stressed the importance of long-term investments in fundamental scientific research and educational programs to sustaining the economic competitiveness of the US.

Dr. Saylor, PSA’s CoFARM representative: “We at PSA, along with the other participants at this year’s event, believe that a robust investment of $7.4 billion in NSF’s BIO directorate and $429 million in USDA AFRI for fiscal 2011 will help produce the new knowledge and trained scientists who will drive innovation, create new jobs, and help address the nation’s food security, energy, and environmental challenges.”

Natalie Berkhout

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