HOUSE APPROVES $5.5 MILLION IN NEW AGRICULTURE RESEARCH FUNDING
The U.S. House of Representatives has given final passage (379 to 33) of funding for new Alabama farm-related research projects totaling $5,468,000. The federal funding in the 2002 agriculture appropriations bill includes six projects personally requested by Congressman Terry Everett to help the state gain footing in agribusiness.
"I'm pleased to announce House passage of funding for a variety of farm research projects beneficial to Alabama's agriculture industry and economy," Everett said. "These research programs touch the very heart of our farmers' productivity and continued profitability, ranging from disease prevention to increased crop efficiency and production.
"Agriculture is Alabama's largest industry and will remain a vital part of our economy provided we continue to look to new and better ways to grow our crops and explore the potential of new products," added Everett, chairman of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Specialty Crops and Foreign Agriculture Programs.
One program that is expected to be beneficial to Alabama farmers includes funding research with the goal of developing economically feasible peanut crop production on small farms in the 100 to 800 acre range.
"In Alabama, as well as much of the southeast, farmers are often limited by infertile, compacted, and drought-prone soils," Everett said. "New research points to ways to increase productivity of our smaller farmers in a cost-effective manner through the use of a sod-based rotation of Bahia or Bermuda grass. This program's benefits are to be studied by researchers in Alabama, Georgia and Florida."
Another promising program that received funding included production of the Satsuma orange. South Alabama was once home to the production of this popular type of smaller flavorful orange. At the turn of the century, over 18,000 acres were planted in Satsumas, but the industry did not take hold due to the region's susceptibility to cold snaps. New research can continue to yield ways to enable the Satsuma to both survive and flourish in south Alabama and the Wiregrass, becoming a profitable industry.
Other Alabama Agriculture Research Programs Requested by Congressman Everett
• Tri-State Joint Peanut Resear: $600,000 for sod-based peanut production system for small farms in Southeast. Joint project between Auburn University, and universities of Georgia and Florida.
• Satsuma Orange Research: $800,000 for research into ways to make Satsuma orange production viable and profitable for south Alabama. Joint project between Auburn and Lousiana State universities.
• Greenhouse, Nursery and Turf Research: $320,000 for horticultural research support for small family farms in one of largest economic plant industries in Alabama. This Auburn University project would seek ways to make these small family farms more efficient with the goal of increasing their numbers.
• Technologies for Improving Profitability of Cotton and Grain Farmers: $480,000 for research teaming Auburn University and NASA (Marshall Space Center) to improve crop production through remote sensing technology monitoring and maintaining more efficient pesticide applications.
• Catfish Disease and Genetic Research: $500,000• for research at Auburn University to maintain the viability of the catfish industry in Alabama through development of more robust and disease resistant catfish.
• Carbon Cycling and Agricultural Best Practices Research: $1.2 million for research to determine most effective ways to retain healthy and beneficial levels of vital organic carbon in southern soils. Research will be conducted by Auburn, the universities of Georgia and Florida, and private agricultural organizations.
Additional Alabama Agriculture Research Programs in bill:
• Red Snapper Studies: $960,000 for research into Red Snapper aquaculture and recovery in south Alabama.
• Food Safety: $608,000 for research at Auburn University to continue to develop methods to provide the safest domestic food sources available for Americans.