Sen. Smith introduces legislation to support advancements in agriculture research and innovation

Sen. Tina Smith joined four senate colleagues in introducing introduced legislation to invest in public research, develop regionally adapted seed varieties and animal breeds, and enable the U.S. to maintain a robust and resilient food and agricultural system.

The Seeds and Breeds for the Future Act promotes the development of ready-to-use, regionally-adapted, and publicly available seed varieties and animal breeds. This would give farmers more tools to confront drought, varying growing conditions, and to have plant and animal varieties that are better suited to their area. Regionally developed seed varieties often result in substantial increases in hardiness and yields. Further, it would ensure American farmers have access to domestically produced seeds and breeds that are developed through publicly available research.

“Our farmers work hard to provide quality food for families here at home and around the world. As the world changes, we need to ensure our food systems are sustainable,” Sen. Smith said. “The Seeds and Breeds Act will make research and development on new plant and animal genetics publicly available and more accessible, keeping farmers competitive and reducing their vulnerability to disruptions such as climate change. It is an important step we should take to prioritize research making our local food systems more sustainable and energy efficient, as well as supporting nutritional outcomes for local and Native American populations.”

Over the past several decades, universities across the country have reduced, or even eliminated, their public plant and animal breeding programs, causing a shortage of crops and livestock tailored to unique regional conditions. Lack of access to regionally adapted seeds and breeds makes our domestic agricultural sector vulnerable to disruption and threatens farmers’ domestic and international competitiveness. The Seeds and Breeds for the Future Act ensures that the United States Department of Agriculture invests at least $75 million each fiscal year for competitive research grants that support the development of regionally adapted seed varieties and animal breeds at public universities.

A one-pager on this legislation can be found here.

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