Senator Boxer: Important California Agriculture Projects Included in Spending Bill
Monday, August 10, 2009
I am pleased to let you know that the Senate recently passed the Agriculture Appropriations bill, which includes several projects I supported to benefit California agriculture through increased safety, scientific research, and pest detection.
Included in the bill was $750,000 for the Fresh Produce Safety Research Initiative, administered by University of California campuses. This funding will be used to continue a competitive grants program to advance scientific knowledge of food-borne illnesses, which will help to increase food safety and boost consumer confidence. Also included was $350,000 in funding for the California State University Agriculture Research Initiative, which supports the ongoing need for quality applied agricultural and environmental research activities.
My efforts to increase pollinator research - and specifically the causes of Colony Collapse Disorder - were also included. The final bill had an increase of $1 million in vital research funding.
Because of the ongoing drought conditions, I also worked for funding for several local water-use programs including the Agricultural Research Service Water Management Research Laboratory in Brawley, California. Funds will be used to investigate soil salinity, crop production and salt tolerance. Funding will also be appropriated to help develop the Orange County Efficient Irrigation Program to increase efficiency of irrigation use by regulating the amount of water delivered based on soil, slope and the type of local landscaping.
Funding was also made available for pest detection, including $738,000 for the APHIS Import Inspection Program. APHIS supports the efforts of county agriculture commissioners to inspect imported plants at points of entry to prevent the spread of serious agricultural and environmental invasive pests and diseases, which could harm crops and cost California millions of dollars. Another $2 million was added to support the Pierce’s Disease and Invasive Species Research Program.
These are just some of the important provisions in the Agriculture Appropriations bill passed by the Senate. These research initiatives are vital to create sustainable, science-based practices that protect the health and security of California’s innovative agricultural economy. You can count on me to continue to support California agriculture as the bill moves forward.
U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer