Klobuchar Announces Funding for Dairy Farmers

Friday, October 2nd, 2009 at 10:54 am

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar announced that more than $6.9 million dollars in federal funds for agriculture and rural development initiatives she pushed for were included in the Senate-House conference agreement on the Agriculture Appropriations bill, which is expected to be passed soon by the House and the Senate and signed into law by the President.

The agreement includes $350 million for struggling dairy farmers, which was added as a result of an amendment Klobuchar cosponsored. The amendment would provide the U.S. Department of Agriculture with $60 million in additional funds to enable it to increase the level at which the government buys surplus dairy products off of the market for food banks and other nutrition and feeding programs, and $290 million in direct support to dairy farmers using guidelines to be determined by the Secretary of Agriculture under an expedited process.

The legislation also includes funding for research on soybeans, barley, wild rice, cattle and poultry, which would help famers increase productivity and combat disease.  The bill includes funds to develop new products and technologies in the forestry industry.

“This funding is vital for the rural economy and the farm families of Minnesota,” said Klobuchar. “Minnesota’s farmers produce food for us all and these programs will help ensure their continued success.”

Klobuchar secured $200,000 for soybean genomics research at the University of Minnesota’s St. Paul campus. Soybeans grown in the Upper Midwest tend to have lower protein content than soybeans grown farther south. These funds will support research that is needed to identify genes that contribute to improved protein levels and soybean oil quality.  This project is a key priority for Minnesota’s soybean growers, and helps fund studies that could substantially increase the productivity and income of Minnesota farmers.

Klobuchar also secured $4,841,000 for Wood Utilization Research Centers, including the University of Minnesota – Duluth.  The research will help develop new products, technologies and business models in the forestry industry, so Minnesota can continue to lead in wood products manufacturing.

In addition to the above funding, Klobuchar secured appropriations for the following projects:

* $471,000 for the Midwest Poultry Consortium. The Midwest Poultry Consortium is an association of 13 poultry producing states, including Minnesota, whose mission is to support poultry research programs at land grant universities in the Midwest.  Funds support research addressing issues such as food safety, animal health, waste management, and combating poultry diseases.

* $346,000 for bovine tuberculosis research to be conducted jointly by the University of Minnesota and Michigan State University.  The funding would support research to establish an in-depth understanding of the dynamics of bovine tuberculosis disease in cattle and deer populations and develop intervention strategies that would limit deer-cattle interaction and to help eradicate the disease.

* $471,000 for a project involving scientists in Minnesota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Oregon and Washington to solve the decline in barley production by addressing winter hardiness, drought tolerance, disease resistance, and quality restraints.

* $303,000 for wild rice research. This project aims to develop new and hardier strains of wild rice.  It would fund research to tackle some of the most critical problems for wild rice producers: shattering resistance, disease resistance, and seed storage.  Wild rice is the only cereal grain native to North America.  Minnesota is the nation’s 2nd largest producer of wild rice.

* $290,000 for Cereal Disease Research.  Funding would continue research on leaf and stem rust and crown rust of wheat, barley, oats and other cereal grains to reduce substantial economic losses caused by these diseases.  The University of Minnesota’s Saint Paul campus is home to the lab, which is considered the grain equivalent of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Lab is part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agriculture Research Service and is operated in cooperation with the University of Minnesota.

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