EAST LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Officials from the agriculture industry are ringing alarm bells tonight.
They say government funding for necessary research is lacking, while threats from a changing world are mounting.
“We’re doing our best to raise some money, but this is an existential crisis for our land grant institutions and agriculture research,” says George Smith, Director of Agriculture Biology Research at Michigan State University.
Without that influx of cash, a food crisis is looming. It’s not the first time politicians and researchers have raised the alarm of food security issues.
“We’ve all gotten so accustomed to being the best that we’ve forgotten how we’ve got there and forgotten that we can’t stay there and rest on our laurels,” says Ken Nobis, Farmer Ambassador with the Farm Journal Foundation. “That research is a never-ending process, and the world is changing, climate change, population change, disease change.”
Failing to get in front of the crisis could lead to disruptions, but it will be smaller scale farms that will take the brunt of any food crisis.
“They don’t have access to enough research dollars to help us know how to better produce and they don’t have a great safety net if there’s like a huge storm or a huge natural disaster,” Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin says.
Preventing the crisis means consumers need to prepare to open their wallets, officials say.
“The United States has a history of super-funding for ag. research, we led the world for years. I don’t think that most people understand that we’re not in that position anymore. We need to step up and start funding ag. research to a level that really brings us to the forefront again of ag. research globally,” says Nobis.
One opportunity to step up and increase funding opportunities will be the federal Farm Bill. The current law expires at the end of September.