Hoeven, Luján Introduce Legislation to Improve DOE/USDA Coordination, Address Ag Research Needs

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators John Hoeven (R-N.D.) and Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) today introduced the Department of Energy (DOE) and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Interagency Research Act to require interagency collaboration on key agricultural research needs as well as on issues such as electric grid modernization, rural technology development and environmental science. The bipartisan legislation leverages the DOE National Lab system to help USDA meet the wide-ranging challenges facing the agricultural sector, stewardship of public lands and economic opportunity in rural America. This legislation will also improve U.S. competitiveness on agricultural research and development compared to China and the EU, and build on successful DOE-USDA initiatives.

“In North Dakota, our two biggest industries are energy and agriculture, and we’ve found innovative ways to connect these industries and create value-added opportunities for both our agriculture and energy producers,” said Senator Hoeven. “This legislation will help strengthen the research partnership between the Department of Energy and the U.S Department of Agriculture to expand the nexus between the two foundational industries of ag and energy.”

“New Mexico is blessed to have a thriving agriculture sector, expansive public lands, and National Labs right in our backyard. With such resources at our disposal, it’s critical we capitalize on every opportunity to harness the power of our National Labs to further groundbreaking research,” said Senator Luján. “That’s why I’m proud to join Senator Hoeven to introduce this bipartisan bill that will boost our public lands and agricultural industry by improving coordination with DOE and USDA. This legislation will help codify this partnership and ensure our Labs are being used to their full potential to support the USDA and the challenges facing our farmers, ranchers, and producers.”

Representatives Frank Lucas (R-Okla.) and Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) introduced companion legislation (H.R. 1713) in the U.S. House of Representatives, and the bill overwhelmingly passed out of the House Science and Agriculture committees with strong bipartisan support.

A summary of the Hoeven-Luján bill is available here. Full text of the bill is available here.