MSU President Mark Keenum

US farming cannot afford to continue to fall behind

In an opinion piece Keenum wrote for The Hill, he wrote, with the possibility of new trade tariffs striking a sensitive chord in rural America, farmers are increasingly concerned about global competitiveness and the threat of a possible trade war affecting their bottom line. Hopefully, Congress will be able to pass a farm bill this year that can offer innovative research programs to help our farmers, lessen government dependence and tackle coming environmental challenges to maintain a competitive advantage in a global market.

From the article

According to an analysis commissioned by the Farm Journal Foundation, since 2000, American public investment in agricultural research and development has flat-lined. Today, America’s share of global public R&D in agriculture is about half of what it was in the 1960s. Countries like China, Brazil and India now spend $2.33 on agricultural research for every dollar the U.S. spends. And the European Union just announced it will nearly triple their budget for agricultural research to help their farmers better compete in global markets.

Congress, recognizing the funding and innovation our private sector can bring to agriculture, is supporting a collaborative model to catalyze all relevant players to meet the challenge. In 2014, the bipartisan farm bill that created my organization, the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR). This new model funds innovation in agriculture by using limited tax dollars to generate new sources of private capital for public agricultural research to benefit U.S. farmers and our economy.

The Hill

Mark Keenum op-ed