News Releases

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that she has included millions of dollars in federal funding for Washington state agriculture research priorities. This funding will support ongoing research for a wide range of Washington agricultural goods including legumes, potatoes, wine grapes, organic foods and small fruits. Senator Murray included the funding in the Fiscal Year 2011 Senate Agriculture Appropriations Bill which passed through the appropriations subcommittee today.

"These investments will create jobs and economic opportunity in Washington state’s rural communities and will help farmers stay competitive in a global market," said Senator Murray. "Especially in these tough economic times, we need to continue supporting our farmers with the technology and research that will give them a leg up and increase demand for our state’s agricultural industry.”

Senator Murray is a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. The spending bill will now move to the full Appropriations Committee, before moving to the full Senate for consideration.

In today's bill, Senator Murray added funding for the following Agriculture programs that are Washington state priorities:

Pullman, WA
Agricultural Research Facility: $5,000,000
Recipient:       Washington State University
Purpose:         ARS scientists in Pullman research a variety of agricultural issues, ranging from crop development to animal health to environmental protection.
Importance:     ARS-Pullman is one of the major research sites of the Northwest, and a new facility will provide much-needed lab space and technical improvements to expand research capacity for the region.

Pullman, WA
Cool Season Legume Research: $350,000
Recipient:     Washington State University
Purpose:         This funding will be used for research that supports the identification of genetically superior qualities for legumes through breeding processes.
Importance:     Continuing this research is critical to the ongoing sustainability of the U.S. dry pea, lentil and chickpea industries, which are major contributors to Washington’s agriculture economy and producers of healthy foods sold worldwide.

Pullman, WA
Virus-Free Wine Grape Cultivars/Wine Grape Foundation Block: $247,000
Recipient:       Washington State University
Purpose:         This funding will be used for research to ensure virus-free vineyards and develop a virus-free foundation block of plant material that will be accessible to growers.
Importance:     Viruses can quickly wipe out an entire vineyard, requiring costly replacement of plant material.   This research will reduce the likelihood of virus transmission within the industry, provide growers with clean plant material, and create a base for long-term growth of the industry.

Pullman, WA

Organic Cropping: $264,000
Recipient:        Washington State University
Purpose:    This funding would be used to research nutrient, soil, pest, and seed management for sustainable organic agriculture and permit small farmers facing economic pressure to take advantage of research being performed.
Importance:     Research on organic farming will allow farmers to make their operations more environmentally-friendly, safer, and their products more marketable, particularly small farmers unable to perform their own research on organic growing methods.

Pullman, WA (and other locations)
Aegilops Cylindrica (Jointed Goatgrass): $200,000
Recipient:       Washington State University
Purpose:         This funding will be used for research to examine plant material for development of biofuels.
Importance:     This research will further efforts to develop cellulosic biofuels that grow best in the Pacific Northwest and contribute to our nation’s energy needs while removing weedy plant material from highly-productive grain-growing areas.

Pullman, WA
Potato Research: $1,436,000
Recipient:       Washington State University, and nationally
Purpose:         This program funding will be used for research that will develop and commercialize new potato varieties that will result in improved product quality, increased yields and a decrease in input requirements.
Importance:    Potatoes are a valuable portion of the Pacific Northwest agricultural economy, with a farm gate value of $135 million.  This research will result in sustainable production for growers, increased competitiveness for the Northwest and U.S. potato industries, and a healthy food product for American consumers.

Pullman, WA/Moscow, ID/Corvallis, OR
Grass Seed Cropping Systems for a Sustainable Agriculture: $142,000
Recipient:      Washington State University/University of Idaho/Oregon State University
Purpose:       This funding will be used for research on critical environmental and economic challenges facing the cool season forage and turfgrass industries, and will focus on developing sustainable production systems.
Importance:    This research will assist producers of cool season forage and turfgrass, over 90 percent of which is produced in the Pacific Northwest.

Corvallis, Oregon
Small Fruit Research: $285,000
Recipient:     Oregon State University
Purpose:       The Center provides competitive grant funds for peer reviewed research into plant diseases of small fruits crops caused by infectious diseases and environmental conditions.
Importance:    In partnership with industry funds, this work will enhance berry and grape product quality related to marketability, thereby ensuring that growers remain competitive in the global marketplace, and allowing berry, grape and small fruit farming to remain viable in the Pacific Northwest.