SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
Page 1 TOP OF DOCDEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES APPROPRIATIONS FOR 1999
Thursday, February 26, 1998.
RESEARCH, EDUCATION, AND ECONOMICS
I. MILEY GONZALEZ, UNDER SECRETARY, RESEARCH, EDUCATION, AND ECONOMICS
EILEEN T. KENNEDY, ACTING DEPUTY UNDER SECRETARY, RESEARCH, EDUCATION, AND ECONOMICS
DONALD BAY, ADMINISTRATOR, NATIONAL AGRICULTURAL STATISTICS SERVICE
FLOYD P. HORN, ADMINISTRATOR, AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH SERVICE
SUSAN E. OFFUTT, ADMINISTRATOR, ECONOMIC RESEARCH SERVICE
BOB ROBINSON, ADMINISTRATOR, COOPERATIVE STATE RESEARCH, EDUCATION, AND EXTENSION SERVICE
STEPHEN B. DEWHURST, BUDGET OFFICER, DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE
Mr. SKEEN [presiding]. The committee will come to order. Okay, today we have the Department of Agriculture's Research agencies, the Agricultural Research Service, the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, the Economic Research Service, and the National Agricultural Statistics Service. I welcome you all here, particularly you New Mexicans. [Laughter.]
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The more I visit the agriculture research laboratories, and we've visited a great many of them throughout the country, the more certain I am that it underpins all of the successes that we've achieved in this country. It's hard to realize that 98 percent of the folks who eat these days are dependent on 2 percent of the population that's feeding them, and if it wasn't for the research that keeps us on the front edge of technology and that kind of production, we'd be in terrible trouble.
We eat better with more varieties of food and cheaper than any other country, and only 11 percent of our disposable income goes for food. Our food is healthier than anywhere else. These are all things made possible by agricultural research, and I think that we do it better than any country anywhere in the world.
I welcome you here, and I turn to Miley Gonzalez who's the Under Secretary for Research and my friend from New Mexico, and, Miley, if you would introduce your associates, then the floor is yours.
Dr. GONZALEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. We're delighted to be here with you this afternoon to talk about the budget request for the Research, Education, and Economics mission area at USDA, and it is my pleasure to introduce the rest of our team. With us this afternoon is Dr. Eileen Kennedy, the Deputy Under Secretary for the mission area. To her left is Dr. Floyd Horn, Administrator for ARS; he's a veteran; Dr. Bob Robinson, Administrator for CSREES; Dr. Susan Offutt, Administrator for ERS; and Mr. Don Bay, Administrator for NASS.
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Mr. SKEEN. That's a very strong cast of people that you introduced.
Dr. GONZALEZ. I'm feeling very, very comfortable in working with this group, and their testimony has been submitted for the record.
Mr. SKEEN. Very good. We'll make you uncomfortable later. [Laughter.]
UNDER SECRETARY'S TESTIMONY
Dr. GONZALEZ. Someone had told me that that would happen. We really appreciate the opportunity to be here. I think that entering into this discussion about our budget and the opportunity that we have of working together for the benefit of all of agriculture, certainly, but more specifically as you indicated in your opening remarks, the opportunity that we have through our mission area to achieve the things that you were indicating that are important to the agricultural industry.
I'd like to spend a few minutes just to talk a little about my background. As you know, I started out in production agriculture over in the neighboring State not too far from where we are now, residents of New Mexico, and have spent the last number of years as part of the agricultural and extension education program effort at the university level.
Based on those experiences and in my short time here, my observation is that this particular mission area is vitally important to the continuing excellence and success of agriculture, in this country. And leadership in the world.
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The combination of fundamental and applied research and statistics coupled with higher education and extension in the REE agencies yields a powerful partnership that serves agriculture well. Our research must continue to be cutting edge for the benefit of all Americans. We plan to communicate these objectives to everyone and not just those of us involved in the agricultural food and fiber sector. Drawing on the distinct and complementary capacities of the four agencies in REE, we're supporting the work of many of the other mission areas not only at USDA but other programs of the Federal partnership.
REE-funded physical and biological research provides a scientific foundation for a vast array of advances both in agriculture and related industries. REE is committed to strengthening the linkages between its basic and applied agricultural research and the broader research agenda that's of interest to all of us at the national level. REE brings to this larger agenda excellent cutting edge research that complements similar excellence found elsewhere in Government, at colleges and universities, and in the private sector.
We welcome the opportunity to work with Congress and with the administration to promote these linkages through funding and research directed at broader priorities and initiatives.
I want to emphasize that the agency budgets were created through an ongoing conversation with our stakeholders. A variety of stakeholder groups, including our friends in the commodity program areas, the advisory committee with many, many representatives of the producer community, and the overseas folks that work with us, have been engaged in those conversations with a special interest and focus on those issues related to environmental, food safety, and nutrition concerns, in order to get a better understanding of what those real needs are.
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We're committed to listening and to the extent possible being responsive to the concerns and recommendations of these many stakeholders. I believe that we have met our responsibilities to formulate a budget that is responsive to the concerns and interests of those diverse clientele groups.
RESEARCH, EDUCATION, AND ECONOMICS FY 1999 BUDGET PROPOSAL
I would like to turn now to the Fiscal Year 1999 budget for the agencies of Research, Education, Economics Mission Area to discuss some overall budget concerns and items and then to address some specific things through a discussion about our initiatives.
The REE budget request for Fiscal Year 1999 is $1.826 billion, a net decrease of $47 million or 2.5 percent from the Fiscal Year 1998 budget. Within this total, the allocation for research and development actually increases by $7 million or about 1 percent. The REE agency budgets were developed in the context of the administration's commitment to achieving a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 1999. Within that context and taking into consideration the almost infinite number of worthy goals and problems that we could address through REE, I believe the budget in total funding and specific initiatives represents a sound and balanced portfolio of public investment.
We've had to make difficult decisions to reduce and redirect some resources or to terminate valuable projects in order to fund others of higher priority within those established goals. It's important to reiterate that the return on public investment in agricultural research and development is very high. The decline in the percentage of disposable income that we spend on food, sustained over many decades, is due in large part to increases in agricultural productivity resulting from the investments in research and development as you pointed out. Between 1948 and 1994, the productivity in U.S. agriculture grew at an annual rate of 1.9 percent compared to 1.1 percent for non-farm businesses and 1.3 percent for the manufacturing area.
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Mr. Chairman and members, I would like to discuss four of our major initiatives that we are proposing in this budget: the food genome, food safety, pest management, and civil rights initiatives. These initiatives are closely aligned with the general goals of our strategic plan and contribute to the achievement of several of those goals.
FOOD GENOME INITIATIVE
Among the major challenges the Nation will face in the 21st century are the need for increased high quality food production, a cleaner environment, and a renewable chemical and energy resource base. The President's food genome initiative, a government-wide initiative in which USDA plays a leadership role, will help achieve a safe and abundant food supply; meet the needs of a growing population worldwide, and ensure the global competitiveness of U.S. agriculture industries in a more environmentally sensitive manner.
The food genome strategy will vastly expand our knowledge of genomes of species of importance to the food and agricultural sector. REE is carrying out considerable genetic research, but it does not nearly meet the need that we have. Therefore, as part of the President's initiative, REE is requesting $40 million for food genome research, an increase of $19 million over the estimated $21 million for the Fiscal Year 1998 budget.
FOOD SAFETY INITIATIVE
Food safety is the second initiative that we would like to talk about. The administration has taken major strides to improve our current food safety systems. The recent implementation of HACC is radically changing our meat and poultry inspection system which resides in another of our mission areas. Research proposed in the Fiscal Year 1999 budget will bring us further in generating new knowledge to identify cost effective technologies for the prevention and detection of existing and emerging pathogens.
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The Fiscal Year 1999 budget includes a total of $26 million in increased funding across ARS, CSREES, and ERS. The majority of the funds will focus on developing improved pathogen prevention and detection methods and other bioscience research in both ARS and CSREES. ERS requests funds to better assess the cost of food borne illness and to apply economic analysis in the development of more cost effective control methods.
PEST MANAGEMENT INITIATIVE
The third initiative is pest management. Producers tell us they need the research community to develop the science and the technologies that will allow them to control pests in an environmentally responsible manner that also meets increasingly stringent food safety standards and is economically viable. Last October in response to this need, the Department established the Office of Pest Management policy within ARS.
Another component of the Fiscal Year 1999 pest management initiative is USDA's multi-year integrated pest management initiative that relates directly to the Department's national goal for the adoption of IPM practices on 75 percent of U.S. cropland by the year 2000. The initiative includes increases to support enhanced research on biocontrol alternatives to pesticides and new control technologies, as well as to transfer the technologies to the producer community, a very important and critical component of the continuum.
CIVIL RIGHTS INITIATIVE
The last initiative that I would like to address is that of civil rights. In December of 1996, Secretary Glickman launched a major initiative to address the problems and concerns that we have in the Department. The Fiscal Year 1999 REE agency budgets represent a serious response to those concerns raised both by the Secretary and by our civil rights action team and were included as part of the small farms commission report. The budget also reflects a recognition that the best future for agriculture is one that benefits from a diverse and talented scientific and technological work force. We've added more details in our budget presentation.
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These are the highlights of the four initiatives that span the agencies within REE. A fuller discussion, of course, is included in our explanatory notes. The Agricultural Research Service Fiscal Year 1999 budget request of $813 million is slightly lower than the $824 million for Fiscal Year 1998. Embedded in that decrease is a net increase of $32 million in research. The goody bags that we provided you have some of the products of ongoing research that we're conducting through the agency and through the mission area.
CSREES' budget decreases by $9 million to $850 million for Fiscal Year 1999. Funding for the National Research Initiative, the Department's hallmark competitive research grants program, is increased by $33 million to $130 million, an increase of 34 percent. The Economic Research Service budget decreases from $72 million to $56 million in Fiscal Year 1999. The ERS conducts research and analysis on the efficiency, efficacy, and equity aspects of issues relating to agriculture, food safety and nutrition, and the environment and rural development. Our NASS budget for 1999 declines by $11 million due to the cyclical nature of the required census of agriculture which is included.
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, I want to reiterate that in the context of a balanced budget the REE budgets reflect a continued and strong commitment to investment in agricultural research, statistics, education, and extension. If U.S. agriculture is to continue to be dynamic and to provide leadership in a very competitive, global economy, and if the American public is to continue to enjoy the high quality, safe, and nutritious products of agriculture, then our national commitment to increasing the investment in agricultural research, education, and extension must continue.
Page 9 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We are here to engage in a conversation with you to see how we arrive at those things to increase our budget, and to make sure that what we do through the mission area at USDA benefits all of the constituents that we serve. Mr. Chairman, that concludes my remarks, and I would open up the floor for any discussion and questions that we might answer.
[CLERK'S NOTE.Dr. I. Miley Gonzalez's written testimony appears on pages 895 through 909. Dr. Floyd Horn's written testimony appears on pages 910 through 924. Dr. Bob Robinson's written testimony appears on pages 925 through 943. Dr. Susan Offutt's written testimony appears on pages 944 through 958. Dr. Donald Bay's written testimony appears on pages 959 through 972. Biographical sketches appear on pages 888 through 894. The Agricultural Research Service's budget justification appears on pages 973 through 1070. The Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service's budget justification appears on pages 1071 through 1180. The Economic Research Service's budget justification appears on pages 1181 through 1206. The National Agricultural Statistics Service's budget justification appears on pages 1207 through 1238.]
PROPOSED BUDGET REDUCTIONS
Mr. SKEEN. Well, let's open up the dialogue, and, Miley, I don't want to take issue with you personally, but I think that this budget has a lot of problems.
For one, your budget request seems to have a total disregard for what we put insome of the things that were put in there from the congressional side of the thing. The Administration has interests and the Congress has interests, and I don't want to see them competing, because they ought to be going hand in hand, and I think that there's merit in all of them. But this budget wipes out program for wheat scab, Asian longhorn beetle, wheat genetics, and many others, and I know that you don't think that research is bad. You've been a great supporter of research down the line, and, once again, it's the backbone of all our production process.
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Wheat scab caused millions in losses to crops from farmers and higher costs to consumers. The Asian longhorn beetle is a new pest found in New Yorkthat's a great agriculture State there, New York, that could wipe out whole forests and, surely, you think we should try to stop it before it spreads, and the only way to stop it is through control methods identified through research.
I just wonder if when we have these budgets prepared if a thought is ever used to look at the merits of individual projects added by Congress instead of the broad brush that says if Congress recommends it, well, then throw them out or forget about them, because they're just trying to warm up the fat side of this thing and gain votes or some other reason, whatever, and I think that they ought to look at the merits of the program.
And I don't want to get into an argument about this, but I think that we could resolve this thing much easier if we had some dialogue before all of these budgets are in preparation, and I know that various entities are interested in the genome theories, great; I appreciate that, and we've done a lot of work in that part of the research. So, I think that we need to have a little closer get together, getting together the minds, to make this thing work.
Dr. GONZALEZ. Yes, sir. Mr. Chairman, that's correct, and I appreciate your supporting comments. As we looked at the budget and considered specific research within new initiatives and the continued programsto use your example of the wheat scab. We have provided additional dollars in areas of greatest need. Our emphasis on food genome area is one such area. I would also invite Dr. Horn to weigh in on the discussion.
Page 11 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We tried to anticipate what some of those shifting resources would do at the local level, and so we've begun that discussion and that dialogue as well. And looking within that the larger initiativesto use the example of the food genome initiative, there are some things that we need to do with regard to wheat scab research that would focus on the genomic side of that agenda, and so there are many of these things that we do need to continue the discussion.
Mr. SKEEN. Well, a lot of the moneythe decline in some of the money offered in support of these various kind of research projects is evident in there, because they're taking out of those particular categories, and without, in my belief, a lot of introspection as far as to what the existing program still is doing and what is the remedy for the scab problem and the rest of it. Before we jerk the plug on these things, we ought to know exactly what kind of a situation we're dealing with.
Dr. GONZALEZ. Exactly. Dr. Horn, I don't know if you have any additional comments?
Mr. SKEEN. Does Dr. Horn have something to say?
Dr. HORN. We agree very much that these are important issues; these things that come along like wheat scab. They come along in both plants and animals, and I would tell you that you have provided us with a small contingency fund in the past several years, and that is becoming rapidly taxed. We are having more and more problems of this kind all the time. In animals, for instance, we have put money out in that emergency fund for Lyme disease; for vesicular stomatitis; more recently, avian influenza, the Hong Kong strain that we're worried about; BSE in cattle; E. Coli; hog cholera; brucellosis in bison, and so forth. In plants, we've got not only the scab but Karnal bunt, TCK smut, ergot sorghum, codling moth, and leafy spurge. These are all very high priorities, and we are the only agency that can respond very quickly to directing researchers on site and getting the methods developed.
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Now, the rationale behind cutting out these kinds of programs particularly when they are new is, I guess, difficult, at best, to rationalize, but
Mr. SKEEN. That's praising with faint words.
Dr. HORN. Well, I think the
Mr. SKEEN. I understand where you're going.
Dr. HORN. The salvation is in the nature of the proposed increases in areas of emphasis which I think are, in fact, very important.
Mr. SKEEN. Well, I think the Administration or OMB or whoever is turning the numbers down there needs to come up here and have a lesson in reality, and I know that it's necessary that we reduce spending in some areas and so forth, but when research is such an important part of agricultural production, I think that you can't just cut these programs off because you want to do genome theories programs that are more important or have a worldwide importance to them.
Dr. HORN. Well, almost every one of these issues that crops up like this requires follow up in ensuing years, and these are all extremely important.
Mr. SKEEN. Well, that's great. Ms. Kaptur.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. KAPTUR. Yes, thank you, Mr. Chairman. Welcome, Mr. Secretary
Dr. GONZALEZ. Thank you.
Ms. KAPTUR [continuing]. And all of those who have accompanied you today. I'm really glad to have you here, and thank you for the bag of goodies. I was trying to get through to find the fire ant paperweight, and I couldn't locate it, but I look forward to discovering that later in the afternoon. [Laughter.]
Mr. SKEEN. Will the gentlelady yield?
Ms. KAPTUR. I will be pleased to yield.
Mr. SKEEN. Are there any labels on there, where are the sources of fruit?
Dr. GONZALEZ. Dr. Horn, do you have
Dr. HORN. You say are there labels on there?
Mr. SKEEN. Well, they're all homegrown are they not?
Dr. HORN. Absolutely.
Page 14 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SKEEN. We didn't want any imported.
Dr. HORN. There was some discussion about going down to the store but
Ms. KAPTUR. That was yesterday, Mr. Chairman. [Laughter.]
Dr. Gonzalez, I know this is your first time before this subcommittee, and we welcome you.
Dr. GONZALEZ. Thank you very much. It's great to be here.
Ms. KAPTUR. Your long career contributing to the betterment of not just our country but people around the world; we're just thrilled to have you here with us today, and could you tell us how does the budget that you presented to our subcommittee today differ from, perhaps, the budget that you submitted to the Secretary prior to a budget being submitted to OMB in terms of the amounts of money devoted to research?
Dr. GONZALEZ. Well, within the context of the REE mission area and other mission areas in terms of the overall budget for USDA, I think we had started out with the discussion about how we maintain this level of excellence with regard to research and increase our monies for the research, extension, and education area. So, we've had a number of discussions. I don't know that it's very different, and, certainly, within each of the administrative units, the agencies, there may be some additional information that our administrators can share, but I think that we've made some tough decisions about how we would weigh some of those pieces. It's a little different than what we had initially started, but I think generally captures the importance of each of those broader categories of research and extension activity. We had submitted to the Secretary and then, of course, there is internal discussion of how some of those monies would be reallocated or shifted in order to stay within our budget constraints.
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Ms. KAPTUR. Did the total budget request in your area change between the time it left your office and went to the Secretary or did it change between the time it left the Secretary and went to the White House?
Dr. GONZALEZ. I'm going to ask for some help from Steve on that answer.
Mr. DEWHURST. It changed both times.
Ms. KAPTUR. It did?
Mr. DEWHURST. The reason is because when the Secretary asks the agencies what they think they need by way of money for the next coming Fiscal Year, he does not put any arbitrary limits. They're allowed to ask for those things they think they need to have. Then, of course, our job is to try to fit what they need within a target figure we get from OMB; that's our allowable share of the budget. The total requests we had from the agencies this year exceeded that target by roughly $3 billion, so there was no way for the Secretary to accommodate everything everybody had asked for when we made our submission to OMB, and there were some reductions, and then there were further reductions as we went on through the process with OMB.
Ms. KAPTUR. In the research category, Mr. Dewhurst, did that number remain substantially the same?
Mr. DEWHURST. The number was significantly less both times. I think these folks have their individual agency numbers, but, for instance, the ARS request was for $853 million in their initial request to the Secretary. The Department provided about $782 million. The final budget provided by OMB is $776 million.
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Dr. KAPTUR. All right. That's the number I was looking for. Thank you very much.
AGRICULTURAL UTILIZATION OF WASTES
Mr. Secretary, I congratulate on publishing the long awaited study on Agricultural Utilization of Municipal Animal and Industrial Wastes, and I'm wondering if you or one of your associates might be able to highlight the work, any work that the ARS Research Service may be doing in this area?
Dr. GONZALEZ. Dr. Offutt, can you share some
Dr. OFFUTT. I think that there's a large body of research that occurs in both the biological and the social sciences about the use of municipal waste in agricultural uses. In addition to the report you mentioned other work that's gone on, we've worked very recently with EPA on the question of sludge and what's in sludge and whether or not it can be used on agriculture and particularly in the Pacific Northwest, so we find ourselves in the Economic Research Service looking at situations in which low cost fertilizers are sought by farms, but it may have some externalities in use; there may be something about the material that makes it unfit for use as fertilizer either because it creates problems on the fields or later on.
Ms. KAPTUR. We know quite a bit about this issue in our region of the country, and I would only encourage you in a world that is seeking organics and soil compliments to really give some attention to this. For example, I representthe major city in my district is Toledo, and we completely use all of our sewage material. It is reused; it is mixed; it is pasteurized, so all the organics aren't killed, and the heavy metals are removed. There are plenty of technologies in this country that can accomplish that, and those materials are now being used on our farm fields and just used on our local university, actually, to do some landscaping around a major site at that university.
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I think that looking at what's happened to soils in our country and around the world, and some of the additional manure that is being generated by all creatures, all living creatures, this is a huge undertaking for us to think aboutthe way that we reuse these materialsand I think USDA and EPA should be encouraged further along these lines. And it wasMr. Secretary, I'll just let you knowpretty disturbing that it took several years for the Department even to clear this report.
So, I happen to be someone that is very interested in those research activities, and you would have support here in that regard. You've done quite a bit of work in composting, for example, and that has yielded results right down to the farm level now, but in this area, it really isn't just EPA's job, but I think it's USDA's mission as well.
Dr. GONZALEZ. Mr. Chairman and Congresswoman Kaptur, I think there's some other information, perhaps, that I would ask Dr. Horn to talk about, because I'm sure that we've done this in cooperation with some of the other mission area work.
Dr. HORN. We have about a $1.5 million dedicated specifically to municipal wastes. We have a much larger program on solid wastes in general. We are aware of, for instance, the possible impacts of municipal wastes on organic products, organic certified products, and we're doing quite a bit of work on managing such things as heavy metals and synthetic chemicals. There are about 325 million tons of municipal solid waste that in one way or another could be available to be spread on land, and these are the biggest problems. I know there is also an issue as to whether or not certified organics should include vegetables and fruits and so forth grown on land to which municipal sludge has been applied, so we are trying to clarify that.
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On the positive side, the application of sludge, or municipal waste, that includes a lot of aluminum can cut back on the release of ammonia and slow down the movement of phosphorous which often times are implicated in the pollution of water, surface water, and nutrient enrichment that causes other problems in the water supply. So, we have quite a bit of work going on in this arena.
Ms. KAPTUR. May I ask, what about animal waste reutilization?
Dr. HORN. Well, of course, we have a tremendous amount of work on virtually all livestock solid wastes, and these range from treatment of one sort or another to composting as you've indicated. We are also looking at ways of modifying animal feed so that the waste will be less injurious to the environment. You may have seen the news release that came out on low-phytate corn a few weeks ago. This is the part of the corn that's not available to monogestric animal and by reducing that, we are limiting what passes through the animal and into the manure. There's an estimate that we can actually reduce phosphorus levels in the poultry manure on the Delmarva Peninsula by up to 20 percent.
Ms. KAPTUR. If there's any way you might give me a very brief summary of some of what you've verbally done now, I would very much appreciate it in this general area.
Dr. HORN. Great, we would be happy to
Dr. GONZALEZ. We'd be pleased to provide that.
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Dr. HORN. We'd be very pleased to do that.
[The information follows:]
ANIMAL WASTE REUTILIZATION
ARS has developed a National Program entitled, Animal Manure, Waste Utilization, and Management. Research is being conducted at 21 ARS locations to develop management practices to integrate animal manure use into sustainable agricultural systems while protecting environmental quality and human health.
ARS research at several locations has shown that nutrients in manure can be used to meet crop requirements. Research at Kimberly, Idaho, has demonstrated that animal manure can be used to remediate degraded soils by increasing organic matter levels, thus reducing erosion, increasing water infiltration rates, increasing water storage for plant use, and increasing plant rooting depth.
Research on composting of manure has been conducted at Beltsville, Maryland; Clay Center, Nebraska; and Lincoln, Nebraska. Composing reduced the weight and volume of the manure while abating odors and destroying pathogens. Composted manure can have enhanced value in the horticulture industry as growth media and for biocontrol of soilborne plant diseases. Recent research at Beltsville, Maryland, has indicated that mixing, blending, or co-composting of manure with municipal or industrial waste can result in a more valuable product for agricultural and horticultural uses.
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Research is being conducted at Florence, South Carolina, to show that nutrients in liquid manure and wastewater can be concentrated and recovered to produce high-value, low-volume fertilizers. Research at Clay Center, Nebraska; Beltsville, Maryland; and Tifton, Georgia, has demonstrated energy production from manure through methane generation.
Ms. KAPTUR. Thank you. Doctor, do you know what percentage of funding in the national research initiative goes to land grant v. non-land grant institutions and how that might compare to previous years?
Dr. GONZALEZ. I'm going to turn to Dr. Robinson to help answer that question.
Dr. ROBINSON. It's roughly about 30 percent that goes go to non-land grant universities. I don't have the number directly in front of me, and I'll certainly be glad to get that to you, Ms. Kaptur. I did misstate it, 32 percent instead of 30 percent goes to non-land grant universities.
Ms. KAPTUR. All right. Thank you and one final question on this first round. Doctor, I wanted to ask you will we find an alternative to methyl bromide prior to its scheduled phase-out?
ALTERNATIVES TO METHYL BROMIDE
Dr. GONZALEZ. I think Dr. Horn has been diligently working on this particular issue, and we're
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Dr. HORN. This is, obviously, a very, very serious problem for the United States and many other countries around the world, and the answer is no, not one single solution replacement. There is no silver bullet. Methyl bromide was a silver bullet to replace EDB years ago. This time we don't have anything on the shelf that we can use like that. We are working on a broad array of physical and cultural practices that crop by crop, section by section of the Nation can be quite useful, but the key is to make these things economical so that our industries can stay profitable and stay in business, and that is, indeed, a challenge. We are somewhat optimistic that in many cases we will meet the challenge, but there is still a awful lot of work outstanding. We have about $14.7 million in work now which is up three-fold from what we started out with when this first became a major issue. We are actually cooperating a great deal with industry on full scale research activities both in California and Florida where these are big, big issues. So, I guess we would say we are somewhat optimistic, but we are not certain that we can find solutions to all of the problems facing U.S. industry.
Ms. KAPTUR. What's your timetable on that, Doctor?
Dr. HORN. Two thousand and one. We've got to have it before this is taken off the market. There is a very important newsletter put out specifically on this subject by the Agricultural Research Service, and you have the latest copy of that in your bag, and we would be more than glad to provide that as well as quite a bit of information that's on the internet with regard to our programs. There's a tremendous amount of industry interest in this.
Ms. KAPTUR. Thank you.
Page 22 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. GONZALEZ. Mr. Chairman and Ms. Kaptur, we do have some additional activities that are going on, and Dr. Offutt's going to share with us some of the upcoming workshops that are on this particular issue.
Dr. OFFUTT. Thank you. One of the important things is not just whether there is a substitute for methyl bromide, but whether you can use it and stay in business. So, the economic viability of substitutes are very important, and we've been working with our colleagues in the Ag Research Service and the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to gather together expertise that will represent both understandings of the biological properties of the substitutes and their efficacy in use in production, but also look at the economic impacts of that. Can a producer incorporate them into their production systems and remain commercially viable? We're also looking at broader questions such as what happens in other countries' which use methyl bromide? How does that affect our trade flow as well as the domestic availability of supply? And I ask to mention that only because the first of those workshops will be held next week in Florida, so we've begun by focusing our efforts in areas in which growers are most likely to feel the affects of restrictions on methyl bromide use and where they need to begin to work right now as they have been with our ARS colleagues on adopting substitutes.
Ms. KAPTUR. Mr. Chairman, I'm finished at this point, but I just want to say, you know, we are so lucky to have this caliber of person and persons working for the people of the United States and the world, really. What you do in your specific mission area is just so important to our political and economic strength as a country; to our future, and what you're able to teach other people of the world. I have been so impressed with the full range of research activities, and I'm just very proud as an American to have you engaged in the way you are. Thanks, Mr. Chairman.
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Mr. SKEEN. I'll second the Lady's motion. Very good. Mr. Nethercutt.
REDUCTIONS IN FUNDING FOR AGRICULTURAL RESEARCH
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Mr. Secretary, ladies and gentlemen, welcome. I agree with Ms. Kaptur's summary of the importance that you provide to American farmers and to the Department. That's why I feel like this is groundhog day again. You know, the old movie, Groundhog Day where the guy keeps waking up to the same song and so forth? And maybe you say the same thing about my complaining about the reduction in funding for ag research. That's a real high priority of mine, because I represent the eastern part of Washington State; rich in peas and lentils and potatoes and wheat, and we have a great part of the country for agriculture, and we have a great need for ag research. So, IDr. Horn and Dr. Robinson and the rest of you, I know you're committed to a strong policy of ag research. Our frustrationmy own frustration is that we see coming out of the administrationnot necessarily by you, but the administrationa reduction in our capabilities. What are we $83 million down? I think this year is a time when we're seeking to be as competitive in the world market as we possibly can to have our Government partner with partners on the ground to help them sell crops. A very great concern to all of us I would say to you, is that the survival of basic research is critical to the survival of free market farm programs. I don't mean to lecture you. I don't need to do that, and I'm not intending to. I just want you to know how strongly I feel, not the least of which is a specific instance, the Prosser Research Station, which is located outside my district but in my region. I want to make sure we have a good record of the importance of that particular station. We fought last year when it was cut to get it back in; The other members of the subcommittee and myself and other Members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans. I am frustated that we're fighting this battle again. I'll say one more time that cutting these research stations at a time when we need enhanced research; good research for a lot of commodities can have a chilling effect on our ability to get good research scientists. You can't just go get them this year and get rid of them next year and get them the next year; it just doesn't work. So, you know how I feel, I hope. I just want to be sure this subcommittee understands the importance of the Prosser Research Station. Can you, for the record, tell us, Dr. Horn or anybody, how many commodities are researched at that station?
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CLOSURE OF ARS PROSSER LABORATORY
Dr. GONZALEZ. Dr. Horn, if you would, please.
Dr. HORN. At the Prosser Station we conduct a number of projects on potatoes. We also have work on alfalfa and peas and lentils, and we do a cooperative project with the Washington State University on hops. I would like to begin with your comments about recruiting scientists and retaining scientists under these circumstances. This has been difficult. This is the second year in a row we have made an effort to explain to potential candidates for scientific positions what these funding uncertainties mean. We actually have about 140 scientific vacancies in ARS right now of which 70 are identified with the add-ons of a year ago. Last year we held all of our vacancies to determine what was actually going to happen and who might have to be reassigned and so forth, and that actually caused much more disruption than we anticipated. This set us back, and actually we lost some FTE slots in that process as well. This year, we are reexamining that policy, and we are proceeding with recruiting cautiously as we learn additional information we will relay that to the people who may be interested in these jobs. We are pursuing the recruiting process based on what we know about the Fiscal Year 1998 budget until we know more about the 1999 budget. So, there is no slowdown in that thus far. I have been very concerned for a long time about the decrease in the number of scientists in ARS. Not too long ago, we had 3,400 scientists and now it's 1,900 or less. So, we are concerned about that.
We currently have seven projects at Prosser of which three would be retained under the proposed arrangement and four would be lost. The ones that would be lost include the production and germ-plasm evaluation aspects of the potato program, but the virology activity would be retained. Last year it was suggested it might go to Aberdeen, Idaho, but that isn't appropriate as we learned because of a number of things that you told us but also because there are no such viruses in Aberdeen. The idea this year would be to consolidate with a program in Corvallis, and then we would lose entirely the alfalfa virus and alfalfa disease program. The peas and lentils research would go to Pullman, Washington where we do have additional work. We would renegotiate our relationship with Washington State University on the hops research.
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Mr. NETHERCUTT. Well, thank you, and at least you're thinking about it. I hope this is an academic discussion; that we're not going to do that, and if I have my way, I'll make it as clear as I can on this subcommittee that we don't want to do that. The conditions in Oregon are different than the conditions in Washington. I'm informed there are about 100 crops that are studied at the Prosser Station. The potato commission just put about $0.5 million into upgrading that facility on the strength ofI'll suggest to youthat it would be there.
Dr. HORN. I attended the Western Washington Horticulture Society meetings this year, and I was absolutely amazed at the diversity of cropping systems in western Washington, and I agree with that.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. I don't want the record to misunderstandI have no quarrel with all of you. I think you're trying your best, and you're doing good work. But I do have a quarrel with people in the Administration who do not take the recommendations of all of you who have a clear sense of the mission of agriculture research in our country. You tell the Administration what you need, not want, but need, and then you're cut, and I think that's wrong. Now, I know we have to fit a size 13 foot into a size 10 shoe sometimes, but let's cut someplace else, and I have some ideas about where we can cut, believe me. [Laughter.]
If I can just ask a couple of quick questionsDr. Robinson, on page 18 of your written testimony, you explain that formula funds for our universities will be cut by about 9 percent. This cut, in combination with the elimination of the Prosser Station, raises serious questions for me. It means really that Washington State, with over 230 food, feed, and seed crops, could be severely shortchanged by the President's budget. I think it's especially of concern when you look at the Asian situation relative to having foreign competitors undercut our prices. I'm just wondering if you feel the President's initiatives are really able to keep American agriculture competitive, and whether spending on these global change initiatives have helped us compete with Canada, for example. Do you have any comment on that?
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Dr. ROBINSON. Thank you, Mr. Nethercutt, Mr. Chairman.
I guess the way I would respond is not dissimilar to the way that both Dr. Gonzalez and Dr. Horn responded earlier, realizing that we all feel the need for a larger pie for conducting research and education in this country, because of the problems you just outlined, in terms of remaining competitive and dealing with the issues that we have between production and the environment.
One of the things that this budget tried to do was to focus on some of the areas for the future that hold a good deal of promise to achieve those goals. The food genome activity that is highlighted, for example, in the CSREES budget; the activity of increased funding of about 30 percent in the National Research Initiative, with focus on some of those real high priority areas that you articulated.
The unfortunate thing is that we didn't get a larger pie, and as a result of thatand there's pretty broad consensus about these areas being high priority. There were cuts that occurred in order to compensate for those increases, and the process you're aware of, and it's a difficult one to come within the constraints of the budget.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. The Fund for Rural America had $36.1 million available for research, education, and extension grants, and my understanding is that funding has been available since January 1 of last year, and some of the universities have told us that they've been extended grants under the Fund for Rural America for this money, from that particular fund, and those have been now retracted.
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I also understand there was a briefing scheduled recently, a few weeks ago from the Department, regarding this fund, and the use of it, and association with universities, which are a very important component, it seems to me, of scientific research as it relates to ag products, and pest resistance, and disease problems, and yield increases.
So, what happened with regard to the use of that money from the Fund for Rural America? Why was the briefing stopped? Why is it taking so long to get this money out where it ought to be to do good research for farmers?
Dr. GONZALEZ. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Nethercutt, let me address that question. We were in the process of getting ready to make announcements about where we are with regard to the Fund for Rural America, and we went back to double check in terms of the approaches that we've taken. We've gone through what I consider an excellent review process for the actual proposals that were submitted for that fund. We wanted to be equally sure on the management side so we've gone through and carefully reviewed the process and the steps that had been taken. We delayed that for that reason. In fact, we're in the process now of moving that forward and making those announcements.
We're also looking here within just the last day or twowe had hoped to do it before we had this hearingbut because of making sure that everything is in place, in terms of the notification to the universities and other recipients, we delayed it. We're also looking for an opportunity, going back to this discussion of highlighting the importance of agricultural research and the things that we're doing with regard to the mission area, to look for an opportunity to give the Fund some additional visibility, if you will, in that process.
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So, we delayed in order to make sure that we had all of the pieces in place. I've asked Dr. Eileen Kennedy, to oversee that process to make sure that we've taken care of dotting the i's and crossing the t's with regard to that the effort. So we're ready to do that, and I'm hoping we'll be able to make that public announcement, before the end of next week.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Well, that would be great, because I think, again, there's uncertainty out there, especially with regard to the budget being reduced. I think the researchers; and families are not sure where they're going, and universities are now apparently skiddish. I think it's in your best interest to do it, and be firm about it, and have it be clearly understood, what, how much, and where, and then not retract it.
Dr. GONZALEZ. Exactly. And we were aware of the concerns. In working with the Advisory Committee, they were very much engaged as part of that process. We made sure they understood that we were taking steps, to make sure that everything was done correctly, and that we would be making those announcements very, very soon.
Mr. NETHERCUTT. Great. Well, thank you all, and thank you, Mr. Chairman. Thank you for being here, all of you.
Mr. SKEEN. Let me ask you in connection with that one question there, what's been the reaction from the universities at this point?
Dr. GONZALEZ. Thank you for the question, Mr. Chairman.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC We have had mixed reaction. As the Congressman indicated, the concerns of not knowing in terms of when the process would be completed. We had involved the Advisory Committee with process, consistent with of the legislation.
We've visited the university community. In the last 2 or 3 weeks we've talked to a number of the committees on policyor for all three of the areas; the experiment station, extension, and the other programs. They were aware of what we were doing at this time, and that we would get an announcement out just as quickly as possible.
I don't know, Dr. Kennedy, if there's anything else that we might share with the committee.
Dr. KENNEDY. Part of what we are trying to do in the Fund for Rural America, is, number one, look at issues in a cross-cutting kind of way. So rather than simply looking at agriculture production in isolation, look at agriculture production, environmental issues, community development, world development issues. So that's one plus.
A second part of this very intensive process was trying to bring together a blend of institutions. Given that we're looking at cross-fertilization and cross-issues, we also thought it was important to look at a range of institutions, and that has happened. And I think you're going to be pleasantly surprised when you see the list of awards.
Yes, it's the traditional state land-grant universities, and we see that as very positive, but in consortium with institutions that have not historically participated in USDA research. Dr. Gonzalez's expression, dotting the i's and crossing the t's. There are certain pieces of paper and processes we need in place, in order to make sure we've done our job. Things like, procedures normally dictate that we have to have a management plan in place before we can make an award. Well, for institutions that are not used to bidding on USDA grants, this is something they may not have been expecting to present.
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So, we really are in the final stages of having this all there and rolling it out. I think what comes across, and the response we've been getting is, this is a new look at research. It's much more problem-oriented, in a way that brings in a range of institutions that have expertise, including the land grant universities.
Mr. SKEEN. Just a word of warning, for your information too, that the longer that the Fund for Rural America, money doesn't get appropriated and spent, the more jeopardized it is around this carnivore-eating, fund-swallowing group of folks up here.
Mr. FAZIO. You might add budget-pressured subcommittee. Obviously, I share many of the same concerns that the chairman does, and others who've spoken, about the research issues. And I think if you all start to feel bad, you should realize that we did the same for the Secretary when he was here at the beginning of this process; and he pointed to OMB, just as I'm sure all of you will.
We have, obviously, not enough money to go around, and it's pretty obvious to me that we are doing a little bit of a shell game. We're cutting plant research components at ARS about as much as we're increasing them in NRI. And the new research initiatives get a lot more visibility, but when we increase the animal component of NRI 5.5, we make a concomitant reduction over in CSREES.
So, it seems to be hard for us to understand what's going on here, and perhaps you'd like to just tell us why you think it's more important to spend the money, without matching programs in one area, instead of where we would have normally anticipated it be spent. What is the benefit out of the new research initiative funding, in lieu of what we have attempted to do in the past in the ARS program and the CSREES program?
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Again, under special grants particularly, we have a lot of involvement from our commodity groups. George mentioned his Potato Commission participating in outlaying money to help upgrade the facility.
Would you give us the rationale?
Dr. GONZALEZ. I'll attempt to answer your question. Mr. ChairmanMr. Fazio, let me put it in this context, because I'm not sure I can give you an exact answer. Having just arrived into this process
Mr. FAZIO. You're the best one to answer.
Dr. GONZALEZ. Part of the discussion has been that we are looking at this competitiveness component that's been under discussion. At the same time, I think part of my concern and part of our concern, as we've talked with the agency administrators, is that we maintain that base that you're talking about. At some point we've made such an investment over such a long period of time for institutions and other partners that are in this research program, that while we're building toward this competitiveness, we need to be cautious that we do not undermine, for lack of a better word at this moment, the capacity for those institutions and programs to continue to function with the excellence that we've had. And so I think that's part of our struggle internally as well, as we engage in this discussion; that while we're trying to build competitiveness, we don't take away the ability to be competitive and to have that capacity.
Mr. FAZIO. I couldn't have said it better myself.
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Dr. GONZALEZ. It's especially important in regard to the inclusiveness of our agenda. We have tried to include in this process minority institutions, and others who have not been engaged in the research arena with regard to USDA research efforts. So it becomes a very complex approach to what we're doing. And so I appreciate the question.
Mr. FAZIO. You've taken your cut at it, and you fully expect that we'll take a different cut at it, I assume. I think, looking at all of you, I understand you've been through this process before, and it's understood that we sometimes readjust the priorities of any administration.
I do understand the need for competitive grants, I do, but I also think you put your finger on the need to make sure we don't destroy the infrastructure. A lot of our best research institutions depend, to a large extent, on these traditional programs as a way of making sure they can be in the competition.
WESTERN HUMAN NUTRITION RESEARCH CENTER
I'd like to specifically ask about the Western Human Nutrition Center. Everybody here, I'm sure, was aware that we had a problem at the Presidio, as that institution moves from the Army to the Interior Department. We're no longer going to have an Army hospital there; we're going to be moving the Nutrition Research Center.
It seemed to me everyone was supportive, certainly this committee was, moving in to UC-Davis. I assume it still is, and I assume the administration is, but lo and behold, there is no money to do it.
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Does anyone have any idea how that might have happened?
Dr. GONZALEZ. Mr. ChairmanMr. Fazio
Mr. FAZIO [continuing]. Of an example related to what we call the Washington Monument syndrome here, when we assume that the Congress will put the money in if the administration doesn't, so we put up something that doesn't fly. Is that really what we experienced on this one?
Dr. GONZALEZ. Yes, I'm going to ask Dr. Horn to help me with the response.
Mr. FAZIO. Be honest with me, Floyd.
Dr. HORN. I'll help you as much as I can.
Mr. FAZIO. Thank you.
Dr. HORN. We have six Human Nutrition Centers and we are in fact proposing funds in this budget for programs in all six. The Western Human Nutrition Center is right up there amongst them, because they're doing some superb work.
I think you're talking particularly with regard to the facility
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Mr. FAZIO. Funding of the move.
Dr. HORN. Yes
Mr. FAZIO. Davis, as you know, is willing to give the folks some temporary housing, until they're able to, with your cooperation, complete a new home, but with the Department of the Interior about to jack up the rent, it would only make sense for USDA to move.
Dr. HORN. No, and it's an extraordinary opportunity. They have offered an ideal site, and I think our people are quite excited about the prospect of going there. But you are absolutely right, Congress did provide $1.7 million in the fiscal year 1998 budget for the design of this facility, and partial funding for construction of $3.5 million. There is a requirement for an additional $12.3 million to finish the project.
There is another issue that you made mention of, and that is the actual cost of moving. And the accelerated rate at which we have addressed this issue is actually going to save quite a bit of money, because there won't be a need for an intermediate move. But still, well in excess of a million dollars will be required to actually make that move. We are, I suspect, planning to take that out of our funds, although we don't know exactly where from.
Mr. FAZIO. Would you need a reprogramming for that, or do you have that within your available funds?
Page 35 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. HORN. That may be necessary.
Mr. FAZIO. We certainly hope you'd proceed with that.
Dr. HORN. It would not be needed in 1999. This need is as of this time.
Mr. DEWHURST. Certainly, we would notify the Congress when those decisions are made, as to how this was going to be done.
Mr. FAZIO. Well, we look forward to that decision being made, and your finding a way to make sure it gets done. And we'll come back, I hope, with the support of my colleagues, and reiterate what we said last time, and you'll get the money you asked for, and weren't fortunate enough to get. And we will have gone through the dance of legislation, as they refer to it, I guess.
Anyway, I wanted to thank Dr. Offutt for the help that she's done in dealing with the issues of our technical trade barriers. The ERS study we talked about yesterdayI won't go into it again here. But it really is very good of you to follow up on our request of last year to fight our sanitary and phyto-sanitary restrictions, now $5.5 billion of non-tariff trade barriers really need to be addressed. And I appreciate the interest that you've shown.
I just wanted to say in furtherance of comments that Ms. Kaptur made, I think the methyl bromide issue is a major crisis for this country; certainly it is for my part, California. I'm going to be working with the administration, with Congressman Miller of Florida, to try to make sure that we have the same standard amending in effect our Clean Air Act as the Montreal Protocol requires of our competitors around the world, which would mean we bring it into conformity with 2005; probably with other things like essential use criteria that might allow us some additional exemptions.
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I've been one who has been urging the committee over a number of years to fund a research area. I think we've made some, but not a lot of progress, and I think there's a tremendous concern out there; not just the orchard industry that I represent, but people who have packing house requirements. We're faced with again these phytosanitary requirements. The Japanese wouldn't take our prunes, if we didn't have the ability to use a product like methyl bromide before we shipped them; we have to fumigate them.
I mean, this is an ongoing concern. I think it can be handled in a way that's safe for the human applicator. It is, however, a global warming issue; we have to resolve it. And I hope we can be more productive even than we have been in the expenditure of the funds that I think Congress has been rather generous in providing in the area of more research and alternatives.
Does anyone want to comment any further on that?
Mr. HORN. I'd like to make one comment that I think could become very important. About half of our resources in thisand I said earlier it's about $14.7 million in totalhalf is post-harvest. In that post-harvest component, some of our scientists have been working on recovery systems that would in fact not release any methyl bromide into the atmosphere, and even those will be of little use if we don't produce and/or use methyl bromide because of the law. So, some consideration should be given to that technology; it's pretty good.
Mr. FAZIO. I appreciate that. That's a very optimistic point to close on, because I think we may go longer than any of us would want, before we find a really effective alternative in capturing the emissions, as we have been able to do in other areas where we had air quality issues at leastis perhaps a positive way to go. And continue to emphasize the human health and safety aspect of it too, which I know has become an issue when this issue gets debated at the state level.
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Mr. Chairman, I have some other questions about noxious weeds in California and insect pests in Florida and California. And I'll put those in the record. I thank you very much.
Thank you all. I appreciate the good work you do. I don't want you to let my minor frustration imply that I'm not very happy with much of what's done. I guess I'm shooting the messenger here, as we so often like to do in Congress.
Dr. GONZALEZ. Thank you very much.
Mr. SKEEN. Only slightly wounded.
Mr. BONILLA. Thank you, Chairman.
Dr. Gonzalez, I'd like to start with questions involving the concern over the increasing age of producers in this day and age, and the fact that we may lack in many areas of trying to get younger people involved in getting into the production side of agriculture.
This budget has focused a lot on production loans. Perhaps getting more knowledge and information to our producers is also a key, and doing it in a user friendly way. I'd like you to tell me, if you could, what has USDA done, or what plans do you have to get some of this research information down in the producers in a user friendly way, and to people who are studying agriculture?
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Dr. GONZALEZ. Mr. Chairman, thank you, Mr. Bonilla.
We pursue this issue from a little broader perspective in terms of the issue of education and training and who will farm the land. The recent report on the Small Farm Commission I think addresses some of these same issues and concerns that you've identified. Certainly from a background that I have in agriculture education and extension to get those research results to the local level, to the producer, and to the constituent that most can benefit from those, I think that's part of that continuum.
And I will also invite the rest of the team to perhaps respond to parts of that question.
We think it's absolutely important when you look at the age of our farmers. I said to a group just recently that I still continue to get advice from my father-in-law, who's a retired farmer. But if you've been a producer, I don't think you ever retire from that process; there's always advice to be given. We look at the younger population, and identify the various areas where we will be able to recruit, train, and retain those young persons to become the next generation, as we move into the 21st century in production agriculture.
So, while we talk about the scientific and extension component as being fundamentally important to the process, I think it's also very important that we look at who's going to be involved in that production, and the research community, and where our scientists will come from. When we talked earlier about the question of diversity in a broad perspective of bringing our minority institutions into this agricultural research extension education agenda, I think it's important that we broaden the scope, and begin to look to those institutions.
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I think within this mission area in terms of education, training, technical assistance, there's opportunity to reach out beyond the community where we've been to get additional resources and additional folks involved.
We've recently started the discussion with the Department of Education, for example, at the K through 12 level. They're the ones that really have authority and weigh in on education. But there is an opportunity for agricultural education to be enhanced with what we do at the higher education levels, I think there's a great opportunity for that linkage.
Certainly, when you look at the 1994 land grant university community, the HSI institutions; we need to identify the opportunities for those folks, 1890's as well as 1862. 1890 is more of the traditional approach that we have in our overall research and extension community.
So when we look in the broader perspective of addressing those questions, certainly in the area of production, we need to tell that messagewe need to be sure that young people understand the opportunities that are available in agriculture. Sometimes those of us who started out in production agriculture because of that background were able to move into the science and education, and the extension part of that community.
I will also ask if there are any otherDr. Robinson, if you'd like to add to the discussion.
Dr. ROBINSON. Thank you, Mr. Bonilla. Just to expand on a couple of points that Dr. Gonzalez said, because I think we're in a bit of a unique situation. Anywhere in the world that I traveland Dr. Gonzalez just reported a trip that he recently made to China, and we run into the same situation.
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One of the most interesting things that most countries are trying to do, is to duplicate what we have in place to transfer technology from the research community to the user. The cooperative extension system, with which the U.S. government is the federal partner through CSREES at USDA, is an enormous way to transfer that research. And I think it has been doing a marvelous job.
We have begun some new initiativesDr. Gonzalez mentioned the Small Farm Commission Report. Within the Agency we have found an initiative, dealing with small farms, to ensure that we are meeting the needs of a diverse group of people, because that group of 2 million farmers that the chairman referred to is a rather diverse group, ranging from very large to very small. And ensure that both are researchedassize neutral, focused on the main issues, and that research is extended to the user community.
Mr. BONILLA. I appreciate that. In listening to your comments about trying to get the Department of Education involved, I also sit on the subcommittee that works with them, and I would, in my humble opinion, I would rather see USDA working directly with some of the university systems, and ag research programs that already out there in place, because that's where the rubber meets the road. There's a little bit of bureaucracy at the education department that might stop you from accomplishing what you want. So I just thought I'd throw that out.
You mentioned the Hispanic-serving institutions and the 1890 and 1994 land grant program, which was leading me to my next question. There was not a funding increase request for HSIs. The administration states it wants to target more research dollars to minority and disadvantaged areas, but didn't follow through specifically with Hispanic-serving institutions, and that's a cause that I champion, as well as in other subcommittees on the Appropriations Committee. And I'm wondering why not the follow-through if there's a commitment.
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Dr. GONZALEZ. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Bonilla, I think the commitment is there. If I recall correctly, while those don't show up, those dollars for the HSI, part of the budgetI don't think they show up separately under the CSREES piece, but it's under the civil rights initiative. We were at $1.5 million in the 19971998 budget, and I think it's up to $2.5 million in the 1999 request. Those were some of the things that we were working on diligently prior to this budget discussion, because we wanted to be sure that, as we deal with the Secretary's interest and his support for that area, that we wanted to go and take a look at those budget areas with both 94s and HSIs. So I think it's there, but
Mr. BONILLA. You're telling me there is an increase, funding request for HSIs, is that correct?
Dr. GONZALEZ. Okay. I've been corrected. You were right. The 1997 budget had $1.5 million, $2.5 million for 1998, and it's the same request for 1999.
Mr. BONILLA. Well, as you know, a lot of the communities that are in our part of the country, the chairman and I are neighbors, even though we're in different states, and I'd consider you a neighbor as well coming from a neighboring state, there's a lot of interest out there among the Hispanic communities in this country, and I would strongly urge the USDA to look at the Hispanic-serving institution avenue for getting the message out.
Dr. GONZALEZ. Absolutely. And the request that we made, I was just reminded, was for $3 million. We were actually looking for an increase in our budget for the 1999 request, but we're at $2.5 million from our original discussion.
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Mr. BONILLA. So there is an increase, is that correct? No?
Dr. GONZALEZ. No, there isn'tin our early discussion, before we got to the point of the actual budget request that you have before you, we had talked about asking for an increase at that point. But if you look at 1998 and 1999, it's level in terms of the actual request.
Mr. BONILLA. The next question I have, is USDA has authorization to make competitive grants to high school agriculture education programs, to assist with implementing cutting-edge programs into our ag education classrooms. However, you've had this authorization now for 2 years, and have not requested funding for this program, and have chosen to request new funding for other projects and grants programs.
My question is, what types of priorities and standards do you use to determine where you choose to place competitive grants funding priorities?
Dr. GONZALEZ. I'm going to ask Dr. Robinson to also assist me with the question. Under that authority, I'm not sure that we had appropriations to deal with the secondary education level of program in the previous budget request. So, I think that when we go back and look at the approach to what we've been doing with regard to education; that we have a long-term commitment. It's not just a cyclical kind of an approach.
But I'm going to ask Dr. Robinson to help me with the details of that approach.
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Dr. ROBINSON. If I may just continue the line that Dr. Gonzalez has laid out, we did get authorization for this program in the 1996 Farm Bill. The implementation of that has been somewhat difficult, because of the demands on resources generally, and as a result of the demandsand many of those this committee has articulated this morning, in terms of the trade-offs that were madethere has not been either a request or an appropriation to implement that program, since its authorization was in place.
I might point out, and Dr. Gonzalez is really leading a new effort in conferring with the Department of Education, and trying to find new ways to bridge the gaps, and to be able to develop new partnerships, using what authorities that we may have and what authorities they have to improve the science education base that feeds into the higher education program. The higher education program has been ''the'' focus of what we have done thus far in USDA. But Dr. Gonzalez has led a rather significant set of discussions, even though he's been here for only 6 months, with his counterparts to try to improve that relationship.
Mr. BONILLA. I appreciate you all being here today. I think my time has run out, but I will have maybe another question or two to submit for the record, and I'd appreciate a prompt response. Thank you very much.
Dr. GONZALEZ. Thank you very much, Mr. Bonilla.
Mr. SKEEN. Ms. DeLauro. The patient Ms. DeLauro.
Ms. DELAURO. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
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Welcome and thank you very much. I'd like to join my colleagues, first of all, commending the research that all of you do, and the improvement that you have made in health and nutrition in this country. And also to associate myself with my colleagues' comments on how concerned I am by the cuts in the research funds.
I represent New Haven, Connecticut, which has the first agricultural experiment station in the country, and they've done an incredible job of treatment of pesticide, waste and soil, natural predators, to combat gypsy moths; a whole variety of issues as others have. So, my hope is that this is something that we are going to watch carefully in this committeehow we are able to in fact maintain this level of research, the same high quality of research that we have, given the decrease in funds.
FOOD SAFETY INITIATIVE
Let me ask you a question about food safety, if I might.
We have heard a lot of testimony in support of the President's food safety initiative, and as the research arm of the Ag Department, how are we going to deal withor how the food safety initiative is going to be translated into food safety improvements? What are the concrete results of this effort?
Dr. GONZALEZ. Mr. Chairman, Ms. DeLauro. We have a couple of different ways of addressing that particular issue, and the question. Within that food safety initiative, there are a number of federal departments that are involvedFDA, EPA, HHS, and USDA, and several of the REE agencies that are here, with regard to that research agenda. And we have research and extension programs in support of the ongoing regulatory activities in FSIS and in the food safety mission area. We provide the research base for a lot of things that the department will be doing. When we had that discussion a couple of weeks ago, we really focused on the fact that we are providing the research base, the scientific side, for a lot of the decisionmaking, whether it's the regulatory part or providing education for young people, or the processors, the workers, those that are engaged in that food industry component.
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The person providing leadership for our mission area is Dr. Kennedy. So I'm going to ask Dr. Kennedy to perhaps share some additional detail about what we're doing.
Ms. DELAURO. Terrific, thank you.
Dr. KENNEDY. Thank you. We recently formed, at the request of the National Science and Technology Council out of the White House, an Interagency Working Group on Food Safety Research. And the purpose is to actually look at all the federal agencies who have a role in food safety research. The research that we're carrying out, first and foremost, has to support the regulatory agencies. So in the case of USDA, we are looking at what the specific FSIS needs are to support HACCP implementation, and Food and Nutrition Service needs to implement their food programs. We're taking a very broad approach, looking at from farm to consumer, and asking at each of these points, in what system what are the research needs. I think one of the aspects of this effort that is much different than the past is the emphasis on prevention. We're not abandoning efforts on better, earlier, more rapid detection methods, that will continue to be a part of our research, but more so than ever before, collectively the agencies are moving in the direction of research related to prevention.
And what we're hearing from our industry colleagues is this would be enormously positive; that rather than thinking about earlier, better detection methods for E. coli, salmonella, whatever, wouldn't it be nice to have research which leads to better ways to prevent those problems?
I'll use one example as illustrative, but there are many we can give. ARS, as an example in this preventive approach, is looking at investing in probiotics. We're using naturally occurring, nonpathogenic bacteria, given to chicks shortly after birth to actually prevent the establishment of salmonella. So, you're preventing it at the source, rather than getting into the processing and distribution.
Page 46 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I see this approach to a governmentwide research agenda as enormously positive. We're actually collectively looking at the comparative advantage of each agency, and at each of those intervention points, and asking what should we be doing. I think what we'll be seeing is, are results that show that the preventive efforts in the food safety research agenda are going to leverage our research dollars much more effectively.
Ms. DELAURO. You're looking at prevention. My colleague, Mr. Fazio from California, tells me we have about 22 agencies who are engaged in the issue of food safety, and you're looking at prevention. Do you know what others are looking at? I think this is a good course, and one that we should follow.
Are the 21 other agencies who have jurisdiction, or partial jurisdiction in this area, also looking at prevention, or is everyone making the determination as to what their own priority is going to be?
Dr. KENNEDY. And this is part of the all sitting at the same table at the same time, with the FDAs, the NIHs, our agencies, and really putting our heads together, and saying, ''These are the high priority issues.'' We have come to the conclusion that there are four areas. But first in those areas, as one of these broad themes, is prevention. It's prevention, detection, intervention, and communication.
Collectivelyand the Interagency Working Group about which I speak, is co-chaired by Dr. Bill Rabb, who's Science Advisor to Dr. Shalala, so HHS is also well represented. Collectively the group has recently agreed on terms of reference of developing this research agenda, and prevention is top on the list.
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Ms. DELAURO. Thank you. That's very helpful. I think that's helpful in getting some idea how food safety is being coordinated. In the long-term these steps move things more quickly, and in a more organized way, ultimately benefitting the safety of really the American public.
I have a particular concern in my state of Connecticut, and that's with the debilitating effects of Lyme disease, and I wanted to ask a question on this area. And I again thank you for your efforts in trying to help find a cure for this disease.
LYME DISEASE RESEARCH
There was a February 13th ''New York Times'' article, reporting Dr. Clive Jones of the University of Connecticut, together with researchers from Oregon, discovered that the number of ticks and mice that carry the ticks were linked directly to the number of acorns in a forest.
Can you comment on this research, and how it affects the direction of REE funded Lyme disease research, what is the funding level for regional Lyme disease research?
Dr. GONZALEZ. Mr. Chairman, I'm going to ask Dr. Horn to help us with the response.
Mr. SKEEN. Fine. [Laughter.]
Page 48 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. DELAURO. Next time I go into a forest, Dr. Horn, I'm going to look for the acorns.
Dr. HORN. Well, it's the white-footed mouse and it's the black leg deer tick that we are talking about here. And actually, oak trees do cycle. There's an article in ''Science'' magazine recently about this, and oak trees do cycle every 5 to 7 years where there are tremendous increases in the number of acorns. And the mice thrive on the acorns, and therefore become common. One of the intermediate stages of the ticks and their development is that mouse. And so the theory is, more acorns, more mice, more ticks, and the deer get more heavily infested, and the incidence of Lyme disease increases.
The science article is actually quite good, but it does point out that the jury is out on this ballistic malice as to whether or not these things happen. In fact, the nature of our research programwhich as you know, is quite newis more built around the idea of trying to keep the ticks from infesting the principal host, white tail deer, in the northeastern states at least. And we have a program underway, actually generated from our research at Kerrville, Texas, but being implemented in the four states of Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Rhode Island. And we have basically invented a mechanism with sort of a liquid soakeda acaracide, the chemical that kills the ticks, and some corn beef that gets the deer to go in there. And by timing this exactly right, we can get the deer to in essence apply to themselves this acaracide that keeps the ticks away, and it's been extremely successful.
We brought some pictures of this project. Actually, it's the back of a deer's head, with and without the so-called four poster, and inverse order, with and without the ticks. So we would be glad to show you this.
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Ms. DELAURO. I'm familiar with this, as we did it at the ag station in the City of New Haven. We had a demonstration of this effort, and brought the community together to understand what we were trying to do, and the role of this committee, in looking at this.
Dr. HORN. We believe this to be the key. We've worked with a lot of other types of ticks down through the years, and dealing with the principal host we believe to be the key.
Now, one of the problems we're going to have to continue working on is that ticks can develop resistance to acaracides. And so we'll be continuing work on those lines. But this technology, we believe, particularly in the more heavily human populated parts of the northeast could be quite useful.
Ms. DELAURO. What is the funding level for regional Lyme disease research?
Dr. HORN. We have that information right here
Ms. DELAURO. I'm sorry, I didn't hear you.
Dr. HORN. In fiscal year 1998 we had $891,600 at the appropriated level, which includes $157,500 that goes to Yale School of Medicine. And the projection for 1999 in this budget is down to $516,600.
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Ms. DELAURO. You're going from $800 down to $500?
Dr. HORN. That's correct.
Ms. DELAURO. That's a proposal. How does that allow you to continue to expand the effort that is working in four states? It's a good effort.
Dr. HORN. We agree that it's a good program, and, of course, it was based on new funding. A great deal of our contribution, incidentally, is in-kind, and we have assigned some of our Texas program people to this effort in New England. So it isn't quite as bad as it looks, but it certainly is going to be difficult.
Ms. DELAURO. Not as good as it can be.
Dr. HORN. Not as good as it can be.
Ms. DELAURO. Well, that gets me back to my first comment, and this is my last comment, Mr. Chairman. I thank you for the time.
We on this committee, we're really very concerned about the cuts in the research effort, and this is a serious problem in Connecticut, and there are other places that have other kinds of problems that are being addressed in a very good waya very good wayby the good work that you do. But we're going to really try to probe and look into where we are losing the research capacity to make a difference in the health and safety of people in this country with a whole variety of areas, whatever region of the country we are from. It seems to be very shortsighted if we have the capability and we have the beginnings of trying to deal with some of the critical issues that we face, and then all of a sudden to not be able to make this difference. Nobody is suggesting that resources are unlimited. We've come a long way from that kind of a philosophy, but the issue is, where are the priorities and how we can be vigilant in those priorities and prevent us from slipping back in some areas where we have made real progress.
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Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SKEEN. Mr. Latham.
Mr. LATHAM. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman, and I'll have to say that the lyme disease in deer tick is very important in my district, too, and for me here, because Berkeley Bedell retired because he was bitten by a deer tick and got lyme disease, and was replaced by Fred Grandy, who decided to retire, and I took his place. So I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for a deer tick. [Laughter.]
See, it is important, isn't it? [Laughter.]
I want to welcome Mr. Gonzalez. I understand your in-laws farm in Paulina?
Dr. GONZALEZ. In Paulina, yes, sir.
Mr. LATHAM. Great. Well, if you're up that way, stop in and see me.
Dr. GONZALEZ. We will do that.
Mr. LATHAM. In my district.
I have one question, I guess, or a couple of questions for Dr. Horn. I understand in the budget proposal a position for soybean research at Iowa State, Reid Palmer's position, $177,000, is not included. Is that your recommendation or is that from OMB?
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Dr. HORN. It was not a recommendation of the agency. I was not privy to the discussions between the agency and OMB, but my recollection of the documents I saw is that was not a Department recommendation.
Mr. LATHAM. Okay. And I guess I have ayou know how important the pork industry is for Iowa, being the No. 1 State in the Nation, and the concern I have as far as with diseases that affect swine. What are some of the recent animal diseases that have, are having a negative impact or potential for negative impact in especially the swine industry, but I guess livestock?
Dr. HORN. This is probably one of the most important things we've discussed lately, and as I mentioned earlier, this is what we find ourselves spending our contingency funds on. We seem to be having an increased number of these outbreaks, and in particular, with regard to swine, we have porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, post-weaning wasting syndrome, hog cholera, and foot-and-mouth disease, not so much in this country, fortunately, but we have to be ever vigilant to see that they don't get here.
Now there are new varieties of many of these diseases coming out all the time, and in the case of this post-weaning wasting syndrome, we don't even know the etiology of this, but it causes tremendous mortality in small pigs. Hog cholera, or as it's known in Europe, classical swine fever, has become a tremendous problem there, and tens of thousands of hogs are dying or being killed to prevent the spread of that disease, and it's out of control. That's actually quite close to this country as well, in that they have it in the Dominican Republic and in Mexico, and we are not at all sure that we can stop all of the influx of the products, meat products, at the border that might spread that disease to this country. So we are very worried about that.
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Mr. LATHAM. Okay.
Dr. HORN. And then, of course, the foot-and-mouth disease outbreak in Taiwan brought everyone's attention to the devastating effects of that disease as well. So in swine those are the ones, but we have equally difficult problems in cattle, poultry, sheep, and other things.
Mr. LATHAM. Okay. What programs has ARS put in place in the last, say, couple of years in response to emergency situations, and are there additional programs that you
Dr. HORN. Well, again, referring to the emergency situations we've dealt with?
Mr. LATHAM. Yes.
Dr. HORN. We just heard a little bit about one of them, in that we put some contingency funds into Lyme disease, and then the Congress helped us in following up with some appropriated funds.
Vesicular stomatitis reoccurs occasionally, and we don't fully understand that disease. We've put some money into that, and have actually taken advantage of these outbreaks to try to determine what the causative agents are and how to manage them.
Page 54 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Avian influenza that we're hearing about out of Hong Kong, is a new strain that's potentially devastating to this whole poultry industry in the U.S., is one that we've put money in; BSE, spongiform encephalopathy in cattle that is the rage in Europe
Mr. LATHAM. It's easy for you to say. [Laughter.]
Dr. HORN. No, it took
Mr. LATHAM. Did you get that, the court reporter? [Laughter.]
Dr. HORN. We're trying to develop vaccines against brucellosis in bison which may constitute the last holdout of that disease in this Nation.
Pfiesteria in seafood. We have declared that if agriculture is a part of the problem, we'd like to be a part of the solution. Dioxin is a case of a toxicant that we've dealing with. We've got others in plants, but those are the major animal diseases.
Then, more recently, we've had an emphasis on Johne's disease. Johne's is extremely important to the dairy industry and the beef industry. That is a para-tuberculosis problem that is very slowly growing in the animal, and infestation or infection is far before, earlier in life than the clinical aspects becomes apparent. I guess we have estimates of almost two-thirds of the dairy herd in this country having it. There is an effort in the industry to clean up our dairy herd, so that we can export our cattle, and they won't be discriminated against. It's a big problem.
Page 55 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. LATHAM. Understanding the tremendous importance to the livestock industry as far as the research on animal diseases, do you think the budget reflectsI mean, we're going to have a lot of new diseases coming in. Is it adequate, the request, do you think?
Dr. HORN. Well, there's no way in this budgetary environment to do what's adequate, in my opinion. I think that this is a terrible problem. Most of our facilities that handle these kinds of issues are extremely expensive to operate and keep in good repair. I believe the day will come when we have to deal with these issues, and I don't think we're going to be able to catch up as fast as we'd like. We do have funding in the ARS budget at least for animal emerging diseases. And in last year's budget we actually accommodated some emerging diseases in plants.
Mr. LATHAM. Okay. Dr. Offutt, last year the subcommittee directed ERS to do all of the studies and evaluation reviews of the Food Stamp, WIC, and Child Nutrition programs. In last year's budget justifications for ERS, the Food and Consumer Economics Division won praise from the Department. Yet, this year no such praise was included in the budget materials. Should we assume from this that the Department has suddenly lost confidence in this division of ERS, and if so, what happened? Dr. Offutt, if you would, please? I'm sorry, I did mean to direct it to you before.
Dr. OFFUTT. Thank you. The Fiscal Year 1999 request asks for the support for the programs in the Food Nutrition Service. So I certainly want to make the case that it's not that this activity is not critical, because we all agree it is. I don't think that reflects the administration's position in Fiscal Year 1998, and, no, it's not a reflection on the capabilities of the Economic Research Service in the least.
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Dr. GONZALEZ. And I may add, just thinking about the question, we have gone through the process to develop a plan for how we're handling the resources this year, with ERS taking leadership. We just yesterday finished a briefing, working with the mission areas, as to how we're going to conduct that program. Our plan for this particular effort in the current year is to ask the two Deputy Under Secretaries to provide the leadership, as we work across the mission areas.
Mr. LATHAM. From my understanding, ERS does all the evaluation studies for the other agencies in USDAFSAI'm not going to go through all these acronyms, but across the board. If ERS should not do them for the Food Nutrition Service, should it not do them for the other agencies? I mean, it really does seem like there's a confidence problem. Last year there were such glowing reports, and this year it's moot on the subject, basically, and apparently, they don't have confidence to have you do it in Food Nutrition.
Dr. OFFUTT. Well, I think there are clearly two models for assigning the responsibilities for carrying out program evaluation and research, and the Department of Agriculture has traditionally pursued them both. As I said, the administration's preference is that the Food Nutrition work be located in those program agencies, but, again, I don't know that that reflects the fact that the work that ERS does for other program agencies is somehow inadequate. It's a choice, and the administration's expressed its preference for FNS, although, as Dr. Gonzalez has explained, for the Fiscal Year 1998, in which we have the responsibilities, we're taking them very seriously and we will do a good job. Quite frankly, I think that our efforts in Fiscal Year 1998 will improve the program in future years, wherever the activity takes place.
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Mr. LATHAM. Did you take note of the difference between last year and this year as far as the glowing report?
Dr. OFFUTT. I only read my good press. [Laughter.]
Mr. LATHAM. You could run for office. [Laughter.]
Okay. I just want to tell you, I think this is the most important thing for the future, as a farmer myself, and your priorities may be with animals and grains and soybeans; being a soybean/seed person and a soybean and corn farmer, I'd obviously like to see that side of it, too, but
Dr. HORN. It's almost half actually.
Mr. LATHAM. Research is the future for agriculture, and as we reduce the spending on the other side here, and hopefully, get the Government out of it, it is one very vital role that we've got to continue, and I appreciate your work. Thank you.
Dr. GONZALEZ. Thank you.
Mr. SKEEN. Thank you.
Dr. Offutt, we have a great deal of confidence in your ability to do these studies. I just wondered, do you have any of that briefing material that was given to you, if we could ask for you to
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Dr. GONZALEZ. Yes, Mr. Chairman, we do have the material.
Mr. SKEEN. We'd like to have any briefing materials that were given to you.
Dr. GONZALEZ. We provided them for Under Secretary Watkins and her staff, and so it was the first opportunity for them to take a look and have the dialog and the discussion. As soon as we have resolved any differences that we might have had in terms of strategy, we will provide those to you.
Mr. SKEEN. We would appreciatethe rawer the evidence, the better, the sooner we'd like to have it.
Dr. GONZALEZ. Thank you.
Mr. SKEEN. All right, sir.
[The information follows:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
1997 CENSUS OF AGRICULTURE
Mr. SKEEN. Mr. Bay, you've been sitting over there, and we've neglected you terribly. [Laughter.]
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We're going to readjust this thing. According to your witness statement, Fiscal Year 1999 is the fifth and the final year of the Census of Agricultural cycle. Last year, NASS provided a table for the record showing a six-year Agricultural Census cycle, with an estimated $20 million in cost for the Fiscal Year 2000. Is the Census of Agriculture cycle every five years or six years?
Mr. BAY. I appreciate getting a question, even that question. [Laughter.]
The Census Bureau has referred to it as a six-year cycle, but really one of the years has part of two Censuses in it. It really is a five-year cycle, but because of the fact that we don't finish up the one census before we have to start working on the next in the same Fiscal Year, is why it has been referred to as a six-year cycle.
Mr. SKEEN. Will you be seeking the $20 million for the Fiscal Year 2000 for the Census of Agriculture, or are you already funded?
Mr. BAY. I don't think we have had a chance yet to look forward to the year 2000.
Mr. SKEEN. Well, we'll anticipate you asking for that funding.
Mr. BAY. Okay. We will
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SKEEN. What does it cost to run that?
Mr. BAY. What does it cost to run the census?
Mr. SKEEN. Yes.
Mr. BAY. It
Mr. SKEEN. Haven't you been given some kind of
Mr. BAY. This is the peak year of the census
Mr. SKEEN. Oh, the peak year for the census.
Mr. BAY [continuing]. Because the questionnaires were mailed out this Fiscal Year; they're coming back in right now. I just returned from Jeffersonville this morning, where we're processing the census questionnaires. We have 2 million questionnaires [sitting there] being processed at this time. This is the peak time. That's why we have a decrease in our request for Fiscal Year 1999because we have the large postage costs and some of the other processing costs this year that will drop next year.
Mr. SKEEN. I see. Thank you.
Page 61 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. KAPTUR. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Let's see, who do I want to start with here? Dr. Offutt, the questions that were asked regarding the nutrition programs and the research that's being done, this is an area that I have a great interest in and spoke a lot about it last year before the various witnesses from USDA. I'm not aware of the extent of what you've been able to do in one year. However, I'm asking you, if I am particularly interested in the waste associated with the School Lunch Program at the schoolhouse cafeteria level, who do I go to within USDA to have that issue looked at? I've even talked to the Inspector General about it, and it's like that game you used to play when you were a kid with the walnut shellsyou keep looking for who's really responsible, and you can never find it. But I just want you to be aware, whatever happens inside that Department, that at least one Member of Congress views the waste of food as horrendous. We said this when the Secretary was here, and I'm saying it again.
Now somebody's got to go out there and measure the tons of thrown-away food in those bins all over this country, and if they don't like carrots, then let's turn it into souffle. If they don'twe've got to make sure thatif the nutrition directors at the cafeteria level don't know how to prepare a menu, then we have to do it for them. But the excuse that, ''We can only buy this from USDA,'' you know, on the reduced-cost program, and then you watch the kids throw tray after tray after tray away, and then the Department comes up herenot you in particularand says, ''But now we need more money for the School Nutrition Program.'' It really is difficult for someone like myself, when I have seen the waste that I have seen in my years in office.
So I guess I'm asking you, who over there thinks about this in some coherent way and is actually doing the research at the schoolhouse level?
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Dr. GONZALEZ. Mr. Chairman, we're going to ask Dr. Offutt to continue with a response, and also, Dr. Kennedy has been involved in this discussion and maybe can add some comments to that question.
Ms. KAPTUR. I invite you to my district, if you have no other district in America to look at.
Dr. KENNEDY. I may have actually a somewhat different way I look at this. I started out my research career actually in applied nutrition, and a lot of my work before I went into international work was related to domestic nutrition interventions. If you look at the history of the programsthe school lunch 50-year history, food stamps, a little bit less WICone characteristic, I think, that what has kept the programs so successful is that they've actually responded to changing needs. So when you look at the Food Stamp Program, elimination of the purchase requirement eliminated a barrier to participation. Many of you remember that when the WIC program first started out, there were fairly loosely-defined eligibility criteria. There was no income screening when WIC first started as a pilot project basis. The nutritional risk criteria were not very well specified. The range of services were different than they are today. Because of research, the programs have been finetuned.
Now let me get to the school feeding programs. I think one of the issuesand I think Dr. Offutt will speak maybe a little bit more specifically to the research agendabut one of the issues really relates to: What are we trying to do with our school feeding programs? These programs, the School Lunch Programs, started as a result of some issues related to World War II, such as the fact that we had soldiers who, because of poor nutritional status, didn't get inducted into the Army. The School Breakfast Program really emerged out of the 1969 recommendations of the White House Conference on Food, Nutrition, and Health; the children were going to school without breakfast. There was an emphasis there on a certain target that these programs were trying to provide as far as level of benefits.
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Now in the data that come out of USDAand I'd like to take my hat off to our National Nutrition Monitoring System, the continuing survey of food intake by individuals, we know that we still have at-risk populations. So, clearly, when one looks at the spectrum, what the School Lunch Program is trying to do, and the School Breakfast Program, is really address nutritional needs of a very heterogeneous population.
I have a third-grader who, by choicenot because I work with Agriculturechooses to participate in the School Lunch Program. If you ask him why, there is some food-related reasons. He happens to like the food, but he also likes going through the line; there are friendly people. I mean, we could clearly give him a bag lunch, but he likes the School Lunch Program.
Now the level of nutritional benefits that he needs to get from a lunch, just from a nutritional point of view is only half of the lunch. He would make up the difference from other resources. The problem, when you look at part of that heterogeneous group, the children getting free and reduced price lunches, we know, again from our survey data and other survey data, that those programs meet the disproportionate need of low-income children. In fact, they don't meet all their need; they meet a third for lunch and a quarter for breakfast, which raises the question, in the context of what the School Lunch Program, is trying to do, ''how do you have a lunch program that has a Federal standard that really is meeting a variety of needs across a broad spectrum of children?'' So I think some of what we're thinking about, in conjunction with FNS, is this new vision, as we're going into the 21st century. We know that there are needs on the low endunder-consumption children who are income-constrained. What the programs are trying to do, in response and as part of that, looking at complementarities with other programs like the Secretary's Gleaning Initiative, but how does it hook into other parts of food assistance programs? Then we're looking at the upper end of the income spectrum: What are the nutritional needs of children who are full-paying children?
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I think there is this continuing need for programs to evolve to meet the changing participant needs. I think we're looking at, with what the goals of the program are, what's the best way to get there. This really feeds into some of the research we've been discussing on program operation and program integrity and the new wave of these programs. What are their objectives and How are they accomplishing them?
Ms. KAPTUR. Doctor, do you measure the waste in these programs at the local level?
Dr. KENNEDY. In some places we do. At the University of Arizona, they've had a very active program, looking at the amount of waste. When one talks about program operation/program integrity, that's part of that. One of the issues is how much of that is driven by the appeal of the mealI mean, it's foods that children don't likeversus how much is driven by the modus operandi used to deliver that lunch
Ms. KAPTUR. Can you tell me, though, in a year, in a Fiscal Year, how much of our tax dollars are wasted, if you were to do a food-equivalency/dollar-equivalency ratio, based on your studies in Arizona and elsewhere? How much is thrown away? We can make an estimate on that. What would that estimate be?
Dr. OFFUTT. We do know there are about 96 billion pounds of food that are wasted each year. That's about 27 percent by weight of all the edible food in the country. Ninety-five percent of the food loss is plate waste. Most of that comes from homes, as well as food service areas.
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Because of the Secretary's general interest in gleaning and reducing food loss, we have embarked upon a program that we think will lead us to estimates of the source of plate waste, because we don't know now exactly how much is food service, how much is home, what creates it.
What we did, I want to point out, the Economic Research Service got a fund for rural America grant with the University of Arizona, the famous ''garbologist''and people make fun of them
Ms. KAPTUR. No, we need them.
Dr. OFFUTT [continuing]. But they're the ones who know how to answer your question. So I don't know what the answer to your specific questions about plate waste in school lunch, but, clearly, this is the intersection of two sets of our responsibility, and we are able to track food consumption in different outlets, public or not. So I think we will be able to answer your question someday soon.
Ms. KAPTUR. Well, I appreciate that, and I wanted Dr. Gonzalez to hear this, in your new responsibility, because I've been asking about it for a while. Every child in this country needs to be fed well, so that their brains grow, and that we, as adults, figure out a way to do this, and to have it happen, so it is acceptable to them, and that we eliminate what I consider a sacrilegious food loss that occurs right at the grade school level. They learn the bad habits very early on.
Page 66 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC From the taxpayers' standpoint, we shouldn't be paying for carrots and peas, and all these things, peaches, to be thrown away. There needs to be a more careful study, and something isn't happening. Something in the system isn't working, when you get this kind of waste, and it's got to be billions on an annual basis when you look at the whole country and the amount of money that we put into these programs across the whole Nation, and the number of meals that are fed every day. I like the garbologists; I'd like to meet them, because they can tell us a lot about ourselves and about our tykes out there. And if we can influence our school meals planners, our governors, those in charge of these programs, well, isn't that our job?
Dr. GONZALEZ. If I may respond, to just add to the importance of the issue that you raise, we are delighted, of course, to have a Deputy Under Secretary that has a background in the area of nutrition. When we talk about these issues in terms of the production of food, we need to continue to talk in terms of the continuum from production to consumption, and then all of those issues that you've raised as a part of that continuum. Again, as we look at the areas of priority and the research and the extension and education piece that goes with that, I think it's tremendously important. So thank you for that question.
Ms. KAPTUR. I'm interested in whether the food waste is equal across all districts, if high-income students throw away their food, if low-income children don't have enough. I mean, there ought to be some way that we measure this, so that we get a feel for it, and right down to the school district level, help them eliminate that waste. So I guess my point is made, and I would look forward to an earlyany additional information you can provide us on this in some coherent manner, so we can make intelligent choices about how to speak with the Food Nutrition Service people and others at the local level.
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"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."
Ms. KAPTUR. I wanted to follow up on something that Mr. Bonilla had talked about, which was the education issue. And, Doctor, you're very sensitive to that, and I could see the faces of your associates there on this one. I have a couple of thoughts that I'll share with you, I've shared with others.
One is, if you come to Washington as a child and you go to these different buildings, and millions of children do every year, you're unlikely to come to the Department of Agriculture, only because it looks like a business building, but you're probably likely to go to the Museum of History and Technology and go through there. If you go through the section that deals with agriculture, you would never seek agriculture as a career. If you go through the computer section, Hewlett-Packard and all these other companies have donated all kinds of money to put in thoseyou know, they get up there and they do the machines and everything.
You at USDA, your particular area, with the resources you're connected to across this country, could have the highest-tech exhibit in that museum. You have films. You have research. You are high-tech, but you should have something more there than a covered wagon, or whatever they have, under the stairwell and back of the elevator. This is the most productive agriculture; this is the most important industry. Everyone in the world comes here to learn from us. So that is a very simple thing that people can accomplish. We can challenge our companies to help us do that. I bet nobody's ever done that. We could influence kids right there in the Nation's Capital.
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Now for those who can't afford to come to the Capital, if I look at my own school districtand you maybe can identify with some of this; I represent about 32 school districtsagriculture as a career, I'm not sure the son or daughter of a farmer isn't even on the radar screen. I don't know what they think agriculture is, but they probably don't even have a very good name for it.
Now our Ohio State University, through Co-op ExtensionI think they call it the School of Agriculture, Food Sciences, and Environment, or something like that. In the city of Toledo, which is not a rural area, we have an agriculture component to our educational system at the high school and junior high level. They have trouble with enrollment, mainly because the people teaching that program don't know what careers are available to the students when they graduate, so they don't attract students.
Therefore, over the yearsand I can't believe we're the only place in America where this has happenedthe students who go to that school tend to be learning-challenged students. It became the program for those who couldn't pass the SATs and the ACTs at the same level as their contemporaries.
And we've been meeting with some of our school officials back home. It was interesting to me that I had to invite in the people who represented our Co-op Extension. They had never really made the connection between our urban school districts, and if God has distributed abilities equally, there have got to be some kids in that system who are interested in production agriculture, who are interested in floraculture, horticulture, in more than just planting the seed, but talking about the germ plasm of the future, what is it going to look like. We aren't reaching them.
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Some of our farmers are there. Some of our new ranchers are there, who come from families who haven't looked at an egg, don't even know what an acre is. I guess I've witnessed from Ohio, where agriculture is our largest industry, a real breakdown somehow with our urban school systems, and even some of our rural school systems, and the Co-op Extension. Now they're in some of the schools with Future Farmers of America. They're doing some of that, but I don't know really what they end up getting. They're certainly not directing kids into the career programs.
I'm sort of laying out the problem to you, and as you think about how to fix it, this is just another example you can put on your plate of what's happened in one area where we've tried to connect the resources of our land grant to at least one urban district and said, well, you know, how can you work together; how can you learn from each other; how can you change the image of a child going in this program, where their parents don't say, ''You'll never get a job. There's no future in agriculture.''?
And, yet, we have ice cream companies that can't get people who have dairy science specialties. We've got all these companies that look for people with those backgrounds, and they're not getting them out of the junior high and high school level.
Dr. GONZALEZ. Well, Mr. Chairman, I'm not sure if it's appropriate for me to stand up and cheer those comments, but I think they are exactly on target. You've hit on some areas of discussion that we have certainly started in terms of telling the story differently and highlighting those opportunities that we have for young people.
Page 70 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I'm going to Hershey, Pennsylvania on Monday to do a ribbon-cutting ceremony for an urban agricultural program. Horticulture is the focus of that program.
We have 26 urban ag education programs around the country, and that's, I think, part of the message that our agricultural educators need to hear. So I would invite you at some time when you were available, on a program to talk to some of our folks, because we've been talking to ourselves over a long period of time, and that message that you've just communicated needs to get out to a broader audience, if we're going to make a change.
Ms. KAPTUR. How do you reach the people in charge of the school systems?
Dr. GONZALEZ. We've started that discussion. In fact, in the Visioning 2020 program meeting that was held in October, San Antoniowe invited members of other communities to come, both in and out of education, to talk about the importance of education in agriculture as well as about agriculture. I think that's what broadens that agenda for us in terms of reaching young people who have not seen the science and technology.
We've just engaged this discussion with the Department of Education for the March 1999 to go to Epcot with sort of a food, land, and people display that we can take on the road, and change the image that we've so well stereotyped for agriculture.
Ms. KAPTUR. When you go into the Smithsonian, the first thing you ought to see is one of those big satellite maps, where they do the careful application of various techniques and products to the soils. I mean, there ought to be some kind of a global thing. I mean, it would be just sooh, I wish I could design it myself, but it can be done, and I think Members of Congress would support that effort. You almost don't need us; it can be done administratively.
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But I thank you for your openness to that. We'll try to look forwardif the agricultural educator in charge of my district can be invited.
Dr. GONZALEZ. We will invite them.
Dr. Robinson, I think, would like to make some comments as a followup.
Dr. ROBINSON. Perhaps, Ms. Kaptur, just to respond to a couple of specific thingsI take onboard and I think your advice is really sound advice for the future of careers in agriculture.
We do have two or three things ongoing, though, that might interest in. One, we are investing with the Smithsonian in an exhibit dealing with sustainable agriculture. It grew out of a request that actually came to the Smithsonian. That perhaps is a beginning in what could end up being a broader exhibit in the future. Certainly, we would welcome your input as we move in that direction.
A second factor, which I think speaks to your pointand it is a small one, true, but it is beginningwe do have a new Director of Ag in the Classroom, which is a program that is directed specifically to trying to help teachers bring components in their program that deal with what is agriculture, how does it relate to the science, something far more than the covered wagon stereotype that you laid out. So that, too, is another program that we have ongoing.
Two more that I would bring up have to do particularly with some of the urban programs in 4H and 4H-related programs. For example, we participate with the Forest Service in a program in urban forestry, where kids have an opportunity to participate in project activities, where they get some sense of what's going on. We do something similar in urban gardening, where young people have an opportunity to begin to understand some of the science and complexities of agriculture. It is only a start, and your point is very well-taken.
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Ms. KAPTUR. Thank you for responding to that. I have a couple of quick questions just in terms of research dollars.
I noticed in the full budget submission, on page 1042and, again, this goes back to the agriculture/municipal waste reuse issueseveral projects have been eliminated: agricultural waste utilization, animal wasteI'm not sure what that is, but is this an indicator that somehow the Department doesn't think that manures and organic waste, and its reuse, is not as important as I think it is?
Dr. GONZALEZ. I'm going to ask Dr. Horn to
Ms. KAPTUR. It's on page 1042.
Dr. GONZALEZ [continuing]. Help us with that answer.
Dr. HORN. No, it doesn't indicate that, and, in fact, I think what that must be is some of the work that was categorically eliminated, in that it was new last year. Yes, that's exactly what that is. It does not indicate that at all. We are keenly awareI mean, the commodity groups that we work with indicate this is their highest priority.
Ms. KAPTUR. All right. Doctor, might I also ask you, where would the Center for Hydroponic Research be in the United States? Are there particular research stationsor where does one look for expertise in that area within your system?
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Dr. HORN. We have no center for activity like that, but we do work with a number of locations that have hydroponic programs. I believe that the University in Delaware has a major program for contained production of high-value vegetable crops, lettuce, in particular. We have systems that link animal agriculturein particular, aquacultureto hydroponic systems at some of the 1890 institutions, and we have collaboration with those. The one that I know best is at Langston University, where there is a combination of catfish production, and the effluent from the catfish system is used in the production of fruits and vegetables. There are also
Ms. KAPTUR. Where is that, sir?
Dr. HORN. That's in Oklahoma, Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma.
But these are not large-scale hydroponics programs. We have a fairly unique activity within the confines of DisneyWorld in Florida that's a futuristic look at how production will look years from now, and that is a demonstration of the potential of hydroponics.
Ms. KAPTUR. Is that in Epcot Center?
Dr. HORN. Yes, it is.
Ms. KAPTUR. We ought to have it at the Smithsonian, too.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Dr. HORN. It's in the Land Pavilion at Epcot.
Dr. GONZALEZ. A couple of the groups that we are working with from the land grant university community on hydroponics and other research.
I'll ask Dr. Robinson to also provide us with some additional information.
Dr. ROBINSON. A couple of the projects I think you referred to on page 1042 among some of the grant activities that the Department's budget does not contain.
But there is, in fact, a lot of activity ongoing. I don't have a list of those projects now, but certainly would be willing to get a list for you in terms of projects that universities have underway
Ms. KAPTUR. I would be very appreciative of that.
Dr. ROBINSON [continuing]. In hydroponics or other areas that you have an interest in. Because that research is ongoing at a number of locations, in addition to the one that
Ms. KAPTUR. Why does Korea have more hydroponic growing than we do? I know their land base is very different. Is that why?
Dr. ROBINSON. Well, the land base certainly is one of the big factors. They have quite a different characteristic in their land base, and quite a different population pressure than we do, but other than that, I can't adequately address your question.
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Ms. KAPTUR. Well, Dr. Gonzalez and Drs. Robinson and Horn, any summary information you could give me on the way in which this research is being done in hydroponics, how its arrayed, or what its purposes, would be of interest.
Dr. GONZALEZ. We'd be very pleased to provide that.
[The information follows:]
COOPERATIVE STATE RESEARCH, EDUCATION, AND EXTENSION SERVICE SUPPORTED RESEARCH ON HYDROPONIC PLANT PRODUCTION
There are approximately a dozen CSREES supported research projects that involve hydroponic/soil-less plant production. Projects in New Jersey, New York and Ohio are focused on engineering controlled environment greenhouses including hydroponics. The use of waste water from aquaculture systems for hydroponic plant production is being studied in Illinois, the Northern Marianas and the Virgin Islands. North Carolina and Tennessee are investigating the potential use of seedling greenhouses for hydroponic culture of vegetable seedlings. New York and North Carolina are working on nutrient formulations for Soil-less Culture. Connecticut and Hawaii are studying hydroponic culture systems for production of vegetables and ornamentals.
Many other CSREES supported research projects employ hydroponic culture as a research tool in basic plant science research.
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ARS conducts research on the utilization of wastes and byproducts from aquaculture to produce high-value plants in hydroponic production systems.
This research program focuses on using hydronically-grown plants to clean up water impaired by nutrients and organic pollutants from aquaculture. Concurrent with treating the aquaculture waste water, there is the potential for plants to recover treatment expenses through sale of high-value food and non-food products.
The ARS research program is conducted at Kearneysville, West Virginia, in cooperation with the Freshwater Institute, Shepherdstown, West Virginia.
COLORADO POTATO BEETLE
Ms. KAPTUR. Let me ask quickly, if you can just tick down theseColorado potato beetle, have we given up on it?
Dr. GONZALEZ. No.
Ms. KAPTUR. Are we doing research? I couldn't find it in any of my backup materials here. What do we do about these walls of beetles that come at us from Indiana and Ohio?
Dr. HORN. We have a very limited number of programs dedicated to areawide pest management of economically-important pests, and the Colorado potato beetle is one such critter, and we are generating a number of different technologies, some of them beneficial insects, some of them diseases of insects. Our intention is to select that for emphasis. That's a very serious pest, and we have not given up on it at all.
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Ms. KAPTUR. If you could, again, provide a little more detail on what has been budgeted in that area, it would be appreciated.
[The information follows:]
INTEGRATED PEST MANAGEMENT
The research conducted employs biologically-based or other pest-specific technologies that can lead to substantial reductions in the reliance on broadly toxic chemical pesticides and in the long run result in large savings to agriculture and the environment. Currently, ARS does not conduct area-wide management research in Ohio related to Colorado potato beetle. However, in FY 1998, ARS is devoting $3,563,000 to research on Colorado potato beetle at six of its locations across the U.S. For example, in Beltsville, MD, our scientists are developing ways to make biological control agents more effective in IPM systems to control this serious pest, as well as developing feeding stimulants in combination with environmentally-safe toxins for IPM programs. We are also breeding new potato cultivars for Colorado potato beetle resistance. At Ithaca, NY, we are developing new fungal strains as biological control agents of Colorado potato beetle. At our facility in Columbia, MO, we are developing mass rearing technologies for Colorado potato beetle predators to be used in augmentation biocontrol programs. In Wapato, WA, our scientists are developing both classical and augmentative biological control strategies and scientists are developing both classical and augmentative biological control strategies and incorporating these strategies, along with cultural tactics and transgenic and traditionally bred potato resistance, into IPM systems. Our scientists in Fargo, ND, are developing the nutritional information necessary to package artificial diets acceptable for quality rearing of Colorado potato beetle predators and parasites. And finally, our scientists in Weslaco, TX are developing new and improved technologies using food process engineering to mass propagate, harvest, store, ship, and release quality assured parasites to manage agricultural pests such as the Colorado potato beetle. Each of these ARS locations is working as a unified and coordinated team on this pest problem.
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The insects targeted in the area-wide pest management program include codling moths, cotton bollworms, tobacco budworms, corn rootworms, and stored grain insects. ARS anticipates initiating other area-wide pest management programs on insects, plant pathogens and/or weed pests as these programs come to completion and resources are released.
The objectives are to establish and implement area-wide pest management IPM research and action programs for high priority agricultural pests such as insects, organisms causing plant diseases, and weeds, as a part of the USDA IPM initiative. Specific aims of the program include: establishment of partnerships and collaborations; demonstrations of the positive impacts and advantages of an area-wide IPM approach; and the adoption of area-wide pest management systems by farmers.
Currently, ARS' budget includes $5,944,000 for area-wide pest management research which is conducted at Manhattan, KS; Stoneville, MS; Sidney, MT; Brookings, SD; and Yakima, WA.
Ms. KAPTUR. Also, with floraculture and nursery production growing in terms of its importance in agriculture, why have the dollars for that been eliminated in the budget submission?
Dr. HORN. We feel strongly that we are underinvested in this. It's fourth highest, I believe, in farmgate receipts. The nursery and floral crops industries, because they are not either necessarily food or fiber, don't get very much attention, but, as you say, it's a very rapidly-growing industry.
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What we are starting to look for now is whether or not there is, in fact, a public science role and a national role that we should be involved in, and the answer to that seemingly is, yes, in two particular areas of emphasis. One is environmentally-positive technologies that can be used either for remediation or efficient and profitable use of land, and it is a very environmentally-positive activity, and then still another is economical alternatives for some crops that are not held in such high regard as they used to be; for instance, tobacco. It takes a very high-value crop to offset what a farmer used to earn in tobacco production. These kinds of crops may have a place.
So our intention is to look for opportunities to enhance this program. I should say, a lot of what we do, and what we would do, with an enhanced program applies to other enterprisesthe tree fruit industry, for instance. But we are very cognizant of nursery and floral crops. We have been meeting with the industry for 18 months now, and they have given us priorities for their work, and we feel a commitment there.
We have major programs, of course, at the Arboretum, which is an ARS facility. We have McMinville, Tennessee, Miami, Florida, and some work in the Northwest in Oregon. So it is a part of our program, but it's only about a $7 million program, and for an enterprise that's fourth highest in farmgate receipts, it's probably an under-investment.
Ms. KAPTUR. It's amazing how fast it's grown in our own State really.
Dr. HORN. I think you have more greenhouse space than anywhere.
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Ms. KAPTUR. Yes. We thank you fornothing you ask you don't have something to say about, Doctoran amazing man.
Dr. HORN. It's this army of helpers that I have here. [Laughter.]
Ms. KAPTUR. And I have to ask this question: Dr. Gonzalez, what are the long-range plans for the modernization of the Beltsville facility, and how long do you think it will take?
Dr. GONZALEZ. Well, I think I'm the person engagedagain, one more timewith that, and I have had an opportunity to go out and visit that facility and take a look at some of the remodeling and the work that's being done out there. As many times as I've been to Washington, I really hadn't had time to go out and do that tour. We've only done half of it; we're still working on getting back out to get acquainted with the rest.
Someone made the comment earlier about the research extension and education agenda that we have in this country, that all other countries are trying to emulate. I think certainly, when you talk about the premiere in agricultural research, we have an opportunity there. A lot of people come to visit our Beltsville facility. Because of the fine work that we have done there and the success that we've had, we need to continue to build on that past experience.
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Dr. HORN. Thank you.
Actually, the upgrading of the Beltsville facilities, which really was an effort to keep them up to code, and keep them up to cutting-edge science requirements, was in fact originally dubbed, I believe, the Renaissance 2000 Program. At that time we envisioned something in the order of $20 million a year that would be required to keep that infrastructure intact and operative and up to snuff.
In fact, what happens, year to year, that varies considerably because it's necessary for us to build something functional. So some years our request will be quite a bit higher and some years it will be quite a bit lower, and it goes project by project.
There are two major activities in Beltsville. One is the National Agricultural Library and one is the Beltsville Research Center. To date, we've had $205 million appropriated to the Beltsville Center, which leaves a $98 million requirement over an extended period of time. Our guideline is still something on the order of $20 million a year, with a lot of variation.
And then the other item would be the library. The total projected cost of keeping it up and running right is $20 million, and, to date, $2.5 million has been appropriated, and the remainder, therefore, would be $17.5 million.
Page 82 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. KAPTUR. Thank you very much for all of your testimonies today. I want to thank the chairman for his forbearance.
And I would say to Dr. Gonzalez, I issue you a personal challenge: that by the time you and I leave Washington, that agriculture is high-tech is represented at the Smithsonian. If we accomplish nothing less, we will have done something for the future.
Dr. GONZALEZ. Absolutely. We're on target. Thank you.
Mr. SKEEN. I want to add my thanks to you folks, because our admiration for you and your skills and your intelligence and the work that you do, and you have done year after year, we appreciate very, very much. We may scramble over this money problem, but the main thing we're getting done is supporting agriculture. It's important to us in the United States.
We're going to confer on all of you the ''Ph.D. in garbology.'' [Laughter.]
Dr. GONZALEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. SKEEN. This lady has more ideas in a minute than I can ever have in a year.
Dr. GONZALEZ. But those would be honorary degrees, right?
Page 83 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. SKEEN. Absolutely, honorary.
The other thing is that you have to put up with a lot of Members of Congress who the closest they ever came to farming was pushing a basket down an aisle. [Laughter.]
So I appreciate this visit very much, and I want you to know that we admire the work that you do, and we also admire the interaction that we have and the conversations that we have, the research that you do, because you keep us as the No. 1 producing nation in the entire world in agricultural products. Thank you once again.
Dr. GONZALEZ. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
[CLERK'S NOTE.The following questions were submitted to be answered for the record:]
"The Official Committee record contains additional material here."