On Tuesday, the House Appropriations Committee approved its FY 2013 Agriculture funding bill (HR. 5973). According to AAAS Estimates, the bill would provide approximately $1.9 billion for R&D at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), $88 million or 4.5 percent below the President’s request and $118 million or 5.9 percent below FY 2012 levels. These numbers include the department’s Biomass R&D Initiative, which is mandatory funding allocated in the Farm Bill; it received $40 million for FY 2012, but is up for reauthorization for FY 2013 in the current Farm Bill, and thus would not receive an appropriation in the regular spending bill.
Within USDA, the House Committee would reduce Agricultural Research Service R&D by $22 million or 2.2 percent below FY 2012 levels, and reduce National Institute of Food and Agriculture R&D by $91 million or 12.2 percent below FY 2012 ($51 million or 7.3 percent if leaving out the Biomass R&D program). However, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) would receive a boost of $12 million or 4.6 percent above current year funding. Most other sources of R&D funding at USDA would receive small cuts from FY 2012. The bill generally falls short of both the President’s request and the current Senate version of the bill (S. 2375), which passed committee April 26 and awaits floor action. Outside USDA, the bill also provides funding for the Food and Drug Administration, where R&D would be cut slightly by $2 million or 0.9 percent from FY 2012, to $263 million.
Congressional Action on USDA R&D
House Appropriations Committee Statement
Posted June 11, 2012
OSTP and OMB Release FY 2014 R&D Priorities
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) have released their joint guidance memo detailing the Administration’s priorities for R&D in FY 2014, following an earlier OMB memo that directed agencies to find additional 5 percent cuts in FY 2014 based on the appropriations outcomes from FY 2013. The OSTP/OMB memo encourages agencies to focus on ambitious “grand challenges” requiring major advances, and directs agencies to prioritize research investments over development activities. Specific priority areas include advanced manufacturing; clean energy; climate change; R&D for informed management and ecosystem sustainability; IT; nanotechnology; the biological sciences; STEM education; and innovation and commercialization.