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January 29, 2004   Email to Friend 

Jeff Helms
(334) 613-4212
January 29, 2004

The omnibus appropriations bills includes funds for peanut research in areas such as pest management, soil quality and water quality.
MONTGOMERY, Ala.-- Funding for agricultural research projects included in the omnibus appropriations bill, which was signed by President Bush last Friday, could help Alabama farmers find new ways to treat costly diseases, expand marketing opportunities for some crops and explore high-tech management practices for others.

Alabama Farmers Federation National Affairs Director Keith Gray said the bill included more than $5 million for agricultural research at Alabama facilities.

"Last year, the Federation's producer-elected commodity committees set research priorities, and we've been working with our congressional delegation to secure funding for projects which will help Alabama farmers become more profitable," Gray said. "Our senators and congressmen deserve credit for ensuring that Alabama's thriving agricultural industry received the research funding it needs to remain competitive."

U.S. Sen. Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced funding for Alabama projects included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2004. Sen. Shelby said, "I'm pleased to announce funding for many important projects in Alabama. These funds will improve the quality of life for the residents in these communities."

Agricultural appropriations included in the omnibus bill included:

Catfish Disease Research - $990,000

The project will provide greatly needed scientific research for the development of safe and effective vaccines for the prevention of diseases in catfish to increase productivity, efficiency and reproduction. An additional $896,985 was provided for catfish genome research.

Precision Agricultural Partnership - $585,000

This project uses technologies such as remote sensing, geographic information systems and global positioning systems to aid traditional methods of farming and forestry.

Tri-State Peanut Joint Research - $536,000

These funds will allow continued research into several factors affecting the peanut industry including pests, soil quality, water quality, nutrients and overall production environments. The goal is to increase yields with crop rotations and conservation.

Alabama Beef Connection - $338,000

This new program will allow farmers to track cattle as they move from farm to market and will provide greater information to public health officials who monitor beef products.

USDA-ARS National Soil Dynamics Laboratory - $1.194 million

Research activities at the USDA-ARS lab in Auburn include studies in soil hydrology, weed ecology and soil physics.

Food Safety and Detection Program - $1.006million

The bill includes funding for Auburn University's ongoing research to ensure consumer access to safe food supplies. The additional money provided this year will allow Auburn to expand its research of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) and methods of prevention.

Nursery, Greenhouse and Turf Specialties Research - $277,000

The research will focus on areas such as new and improved pest resistant plant strains, utilization of new technologies in production and strategies for crop scheduling. As one of the fastest growing segments of Alabama agriculture, research in these areas are needed to maintain and fuel the industry's growth.

Improved Crop Production Practices - $770,000

This funding will allow Auburn University, Alabama A & M University and Tuskegee University to conduct joint research of conservation tillage, precision agriculture and management of poultry litter.

Horn fly research - $135,000

This funding will assist Auburn University in its efforts to develop a horn fly vaccine. Economic losses due to horn fly stress on beef and dairy cattle totaled $1 billion last year, proving the necessity for this invaluable research. This vaccine in development is easily administered, species-targeted, long-lasting, and environmentally acceptable.

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