Seed World

ASTA Witness Testifies at Senate Ag Committee Hearing on Farm Bill Research Programs

Dr. Katy Martin Rainey, Associate Professor, Agronomy, Purdue University, testified today on behalf of the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) at a Senate Agriculture Committee hearing titled, “Farm Bill 2023: Research Programs.” Rainey spoke to the foundational role of agriculture research in the 2023 Farm Bill in ensuring a secure agricultural production and food system, which starts with quality seed.

“Strong federal investment in agriculture research—leveraged through effective public-private partnerships, is vital to ensuring the success of U.S. farmers in the face of a complex array of emerging challenges,” stressed Rainey. “We rely on the support of Farm Bill funding and programs to ensure continued U.S. leadership as the provider of the best seed to the world.”

Rainey emphasized the importance of Farm Bill research programs for the seed industry. Continued investment and support for these programs, including the National Plant Germplasm System, Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), and the Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority (AGARDA), are priorities in the next Farm Bill reauthorization.

“As we deal with the challenges of feeding a growing population, all of these programs have unique roles creating solutions for a more secure and sustainable future, while keeping the U.S. competitive globally,” she said.

Rainey underscored the role of emerging innovations in crop improvement, made possible by long-term, sustained investments in ag research, in supporting farmers’ successful use of conservation practices.

“Breeding will bolster practices for climate adaptation and mitigation, soil health and habitat restoration, such as cover crops, while also benefiting farm productivity,” she said. “This includes the exploration of new and emerging tools like gene editing, which has the potential to unlock new capabilities in plants, thanks to robust private and public sector R&D investments over time.”

In addition to her role as Associate Professor, Rainey, serves as Director of the Purdue Soybean Center, and is the co-founder of Progeny Drone, Inc. She serves on the National Genetic Resources Advisory Council, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research Crops of the Future Advisory Council, and is involved with the leadership of the National Association of Plant Breeders.

View Rainey’s full written remarks here.

For more information on the hearing, visit the see Senate Agriculture Committee’s website.