News Releases

Senator Murray Secures $17 Million for Washington Agriculture in Omnibus Appropriations Bill

Nov 20 2004

Washington Wine, Ag Research, WSU, Food Safety Will Benefit from Murray's Funding

Murray Also Restores $6 million in Washington Ag. Research that President Bush Tried to Eliminate

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- U.S. Senator Patty Murray successfully protected over $17 million for Washington state’s agriculture priorities in the fiscal year 2005 Omnibus Appropriations bill. This federal funding will support ongoing research for a broad range of agriculture sectors in the Northwest, including wheat, potatoes, barley, shellfish, wine grapes, organic foods, hops and small fruits. The bill passed the House of Representatives today and is expected to pass the Senate tonight.

Senator Murray is a senior member of the Appropriations Committee. The Omnibus Appropriations measure funds numerous Washington state agricultural initiatives championed by Senator Murray.



“Increased funding for these research programs will lead to better products and to bigger markets for Washington agricultural products,” Senator Murray said. “Especially now, we must do all we can to support industries which will provide jobs and economic growth to our rural communities.”



As a senior appropriator, Murray secured funding to support Washington's wine industry and to build a new Agricultural Research Service building at Washington State University in Pullman.



In addition, Murray successfully restored more than $6 million in critical Washington state research funding that the Bush Administration had proposed to eliminate. The bill continues funding for research on a variety of products including: wheat, potatoes, barely, shellfish, wine grapes, organic foods, hops, asparagus, and small fruits.



"This bill offers hope for our state's hard-hit farm families," Murray said. "This bill helps our farmers compete around the world, ensures the safety of our food supply, and protects our nation’s soil, water, and air.”

Washington State Projects

Below are the Washington-state specific projects for which Senator Murray secured more than $11 million:

Agricultural Research Service Research Laboratory Construction—Pullman, WA ($3 million):

Researchers from the Agricultural Research Service and Washington State University have enjoyed a long and effective partnership, collaborating on national and regional projects, and training students. This new facility will strengthen this federal-state partnership, and is critical to the future of agriculture in the Pacific Northwest.



Wine Industry - ($325,000)

This funding will help create a virus-free source of rootstock to keep Washington state’s growing wine industry strong and competitive. As the industry grows, it needs a disease and virus-free “motherblock” of plant material to ensure that all planted grapevine is free of diseases that could devastate the broader industry. These research dollars will help build a new foundation block for distribution to growers, ensuring that our state’s clean rootstock is preserved.

Asparagus Technology and Production ($250,000)

Washington State University and Michigan State University are jointly researching methods to reduce labor costs in the asparagus industry. The industry’s labor costs, combined with federal anti-drug and trade policies that have led to a disproportionate increase in imported asparagus have left Washington’s asparagus at a competitive disadvantage. This project will help the industry reduce labor costs while shifting its workforce to value-added employment.



In addition, Senator Murray included language asking the U.S. Department of Agriculture to purchase asparagus in 2005 for domestic feeding programs. In less than a year, three asparagus canners have ceased operations in Washington state, leading to a surplus of more than 9 million pounds of asparagus.

Small fruits research ($425,000)

The Northwest Center for Small Fruits Research conducts coordinated research for berry and grape growers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Breeding and genetics research have tremendous potential to enhance the productivity and profitability of the small fruits industry in the Pacific Northwest. This funding will continue the Center’s work on genetics research, plant breeding, pest management and product quality improvement methods, which are critical to the long-term viability of the industry.

Competitiveness of Agricultural Products ($652,000)

This funding supports the International Marketing Program for Agricultural Commodities and Trade at Washington State University and the Center for International Trade in Forest Products at the University of Washington. These complementary programs apply science and technology to determine new export marketing opportunities, solve technical problems that impede exports, and develop new products, processes, technologies, or strategies to increase exports. These programs receive matching state and private-sector funding for specific projects.



Strengthening Organic Crops Research and Education ($362,000)

Washington state enjoys a rapidly growing organic foods industry, which is valued at more than $100 million. The WSU Center for Sustaining Agriculture and Natural Resources is developing a comprehensive organic farming research and education program. The Center’s plans include developing organic seed protection and production technology, determining the effect of production practices on nutritional content, developing organic weed control methods, water management, and pest control.

Tree Fruit Quality Research ($443,000)

This funding supports research at the Agricultural Research Service facility in Wenatchee focusing on the genetics of tree fruit quality. This research will provide the fundamental scientific knowledge that will allow for the development of new apple varieties. This project is one of five parts of the National Tree Fruit Technology Roadmap, which will help maintain the nation’s competitiveness in the world apple market.



Potato Research ($1,509,000)

Washington, Oregon, and Idaho make up the tri-state portion of the potato research program. The Tri-State Variety Development Program uses this funding to produce new varieties that are resistant to pathogenic diseases, requires fewer pesticides, and are more marketable.



Restoring $6 million in proposed Bush Administration cuts for Agricultural Research Service Projects President Bush’s fiscal year 2005 budget request for the U.S. Department of Agriculture proposed eliminating existing projects critical to farmers and consumers in Washington state and the region. Senator Murray successfully restored funding for the following programs (which total $6,150,706):

Minor Use Pesticides (IR-4) in Prosser and Wapato, Potato Research Enhancement, Viticulture Research, Air Quality (PM-10), Grain Legume Plant Pathologist Position, Malignant Catarrhal Fever (MCF) Virus, Microbial Genomics Initiative, National Germplasm Resources Program, Root Diseases in Wheat and Barely, Temperate Fruit Flies, Virus Free Fruit Tree Cultivars, Hops Research, Northwest Center for Small Fruits Research, Shellfish Genetics and Marine Ecology Research, Regional Molecular Genotyping, and Western Wheat Quality Laboratory.



Other Projects that Benefit Washington State that Senator Murray secured funding for include:

  • STEEP III—water quality in the Pacific Northwest ($645,000)
  • Aquaculture ($770,000)
  • Cool season legume research ($569,000)
  • Food security ($400,000)
  • Grass seed cropping systems for sustainable agriculture ($454,000)
  • Regional barley gene mapping project ($688,000)
  • Aegilops cylindrica ($358,000)