The House Agriculture Committee’s Subcommittee on Biotechnology, Horticulture and Research held a hearing last week to highlight the importance of agricultural research as part of the committee’s hearing series on the next farm bill.

Members heard from witnesses who stressed the important role research plays in ensuring American agriculture remains competitive and capable of addressing growing needs around the world.

“The public-private partnership in agricultural research has allowed American agriculture to flourish over the last century, supplying our nation with a stable, abundant and affordable food supply while contributing to America’s competitiveness in the global marketplace,” Subcommittee Chairman Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.) said. “As we begin our work on the next farm bill—and as we look at the future of American agriculture—it is vital that we invest in public agricultural research.”

Agricultural Chairman Mike Conaway also stressed the importance of agricultural research in his statement.

“If the U.S. is going to remain competitive going forward, we must continue making key investments in our agricultural research system, and we must look for ways to do that in the most efficient manner possible,” Conaway said.

Chairman of the American Soybean Association Richard Wilkins testified on behalf of the National Coalition for Food and Agricultural Research (NCFAR).

He explained the significant role that the public-sector research plays in continuing the stream of technological innovations that drive the food and agricultural system.

Wilkins urged reauthorization of a strong farm bill research title, supported by robust funding.

“I am not a researcher, but as a farmer I am a customer who needs what researchers produce,” Wilkins said. “Modern agriculture is a science-based business. I know that I can do what I do better because of advancements and innovations made possible by federal investments in agricultural research.”

Wilkins said federal funding in agricultural research has become stagnant and this limits agriculture’s ability to respond to multiple demands and challenges.

Click here to read the full testimonies.