American Statistical Assoc Praises House Appropriations Bill Blocking USDA Research Arm UpheavalWed, 22 May 2019 15:25:56 CDT
The American Statistical Association welcomes the language released today by the House Appropriations Committee in the FY20 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies bill. As stated in their accompanying press release, “The bill includes language blocking USDA’s proposal to relocate the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) outside the National Capital Region ... (and) blocks USDA’s proposal to put ERS, currently under USDA’s research mission area, under the Office of the Chief Economist, which is under the Office of the Secretary.” The bill also rejects the USDA’s proposed 50 percent cut to ERS programs, including to the following research areas:
1. Farm, conservation, and trade policy
2. Food assistance, nutrition, and diet quality
3. Rural economy and well-being
4. Food safety
ASA Executive Director Ron Wasserstein issued this statement:
We applaud Chair Sanford Bishop and his subcommittee for standing up for science and evidence-based policymaking at USDA. Secretary Sonny Perdue’s proposals would cripple the ability of ERS and NIFA to carry out their vital work supporting our food and agriculture as well as rural America, setbacks that could take many years to address. These sectors are too important to keeping our country fed and nourished to let the secretary proceed with a poorly justified upheaval of the USDA research arm that experts in the USDA stakeholder community agree is an illogical and counterproductive move.
Under Chair Bishop’s leadership and that of full committee Chair Nita Lowey, the House Appropriations Committee is exercising its oversight authority to ensure USDA’s research arm remains a strong and independent mission area. We hope the Senate will follow suit in protecting the integrity of USDA science.
We urge Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to heed the House language and the wisdom and concerns of the broader USDA stakeholder community.
Source - American Statistical Association
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