Hoeven: Agriculture Research Vital to Nation's Food Supply, Supports Farmers, Ranchers & Rural Communities

North Dakotan Dr. Kerry Hartman Testifies on Importance of Ag Research in Front of Senate Ag Committee

WASHINGTON – At a recent hearing of the Senate Agriculture Committee, Senator John Hoeven drove home the importance of agriculture research in helping the nation’s ag producers compete globally and provide the highest quality, lowest cost food supply in history. The senator was joined at the hearing by Dr. Kerry Hartman, the Academic Dean and Sciences Chair at Nueta Hidatsa Sahnish College in New Town, North Dakota. The college is a 1994 land-grant institution, and in this role, it serves as the extension agent for the Fort Berthold Reservation and conducts research on several issues important to the tribes, including invasive species, pollinators and traditional crops.

As the chairman of the Agriculture Appropriations Committee, Hoeven is working to secure annual funding for the nation’s ag research programs at the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS). The Fiscal Year 2017 funding bill that Congress passed last month included an increase of $62 million for ARS and NIFA.

“We’re working hard to make sure agriculture research is fully funded,” Hoeven said. “I want to thank Dr. Hartman for traveling to Washington and testifying in front of our Agriculture Committee. He put into perspective why it is so important for our farmers and ranchers that we support ag research.”

Hoeven stressed that research not only helps farmers produce higher yields, but also increases the diversity of crops that can be grown in a given region. The senator pointed to the success of pulse and oilseed crops in the state as an example. In 2016, North Dakota was the number one producer of canola, flaxseed, sunflower and dry edible peas and beans for the nation. Hoeven said this variety of crops provides more stability to farmers and the state’s economy and benefits consumers.