Athens, Georgia- Congressman Frank D. Lucas, Chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Credit, Rural Development and Research, convened a hearing today to review agriculture research and extension. Congressman Max Burns, who serves on the Subcommittee, hosted the field hearing. Lucas lauded Burns for his work on the Committee, and his consistent advocacy on behalf of agriculture research and extension programs.
The Subcommittee heard from two panels of witnesses. A complete list of those testifying is available at the bottom of the release.
Agricultural research is critical to the United States . In the 1960s, one farmer supplied 25.8 people in the U.S. and abroad with their food. In 1994, one farmer supplied food for 129 people in the U.S. and abroad.
The efficiency of U.S. farmers also benefits the United States ' consumer. U.S. consumers spend approximately nine percent of their income on food compared with 11 percent in the United Kingdom , 17 percent in Japan , 27 percent in South Africa , and 53 percent in India .
Chairman Lucas opened the hearing by commenting, "Only through the best research in the world have U.S. producers been able to become so efficient and productive. However, we cannot take past successes for granted and become complacent. We need to get the word out about what agricultural research has accomplished."
He went on to say, "In the coming years, the budgets will not be any easier to balance for the Authorizing Committees or the Appropriations Committees. We need sound arguments to show why these programs are deserving of current and higher levels of funding.
Today's hearing provides an excellent opportunity to provide clear direction on what the Subcommittee can do to improve the structure and administration of these programs. If we can continue to demonstrate that the funds available are being used efficiently, effectively, and in the best interest of the public then we have a better chance of ensuring the necessary support to increase Federal investment in these programs."
Rep. Max Burns, commented, "It is no secret that Georgia 's producers grow the sweetest onions, strongest cotton, tastiest peaches, and the best peanuts anywhere in the world. If our farmers are to continue doing so and compete in a world market, we must provide them with sound agriculture research that helps them produce the highest quality and safest products around. Because of research, I know a farmer's son will one day plant a seed that is more disease resistant than that his father used, and it is this kind of research which will help Georgia's farmers become more efficient and effective in their production and marketing of our goods around the world."
•Dr. Gale A. Buchanan, Dean and Director, College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, University of Georgia , Athens , Georgia
•Dr. Sharon Nickols, Dean, College of Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Georgia , Athens , Georgia
•Dr. Melvin P. Garber, Associate Dean for Extension, University of Georgia , Athens , Georgia
•Dr. Clifton Baile, GRA Eminent Scholar in Agricultural Biotechnology, University of Georgia , Athens , Georgia
•Dr. David Swayne, Director, Southeast Poultry Research Laboratory, Athens , Georgia , representing the Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture
•Dr. Wayne Reeves, Director, J.Phil Campbell Senior Natural Resource Conservation Center, Watkinsville , Georgia , representing the Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture