News Releases

Murray Secures Critical Support for Washington Farmers

Jul 17 2001

Through work on Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, Murray Restores President's Budget Cuts, Secures Increases in Research Funding

(Washington, D.C.) In her new role as a member of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, the Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies, Senator Patty Murray secured a $12,000,000 increase over the President's budget for Washington state research priorities.

These grants will provide important research and technical support for Washington state producers," said Murray. "Our farmers are competing on a global playing field, and these investments will help keep them competitive now and in the future."

"I'm pleased to announce that the President's proposed cuts have been restored, and that the Appropriations Committee has acted to fund several new high priority needs," Murray continued.

Agricultural research is promoted through two agencies in the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). The USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) is USDA's in-house research division. The USDA Cooperative State Research Education and Extension Service (CSREES) provides funding for research and extension activities at land grant universities.

Below is a partial list of the funding Senator Murray worked to secure:

Fighting Emerging and Foodborne Diseases. [$900,000 for Washington State] Senator Murray secured $900,000 for the Microbial Genomics Initiative, a joint project between the ARS Animal Disease Research Unit in Pullman, Washington, and the ARS Tick Research Unit at Kerrville, Texas. Initially, research will focus on discovering the genome of a tick-transmitted bacterial agent of cattle; anaplasmosis poses a serious trade barrier for U.S. cattle exports. The Pullman unit will receive $600,000, of which $100,000 is for a collaborative project with the College of Veterinary Medicine at Washington State University. On-going analysis of the complete genome of microbial pathogens is helping us to understand emerging and foodborne diseases such as tuberculosis, salmonellosis, and E. coli o157:H7, as well as bioterrorist threats such as anthrax.

Discovering the Nutritional Benefits of Barley. [$500,000 for Washington State] Senator Murray secured $500,000 for barley food health benefits research, a $300,000 increase over fiscal year 2001. This research project is conducting the first human clinical trial in the United States to study barley's effect on reducing risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The goal is to develop an FDA-approved label defining foods that contain barley as low-cholesterol.

Increasing the Competitiveness of Small Fruits and the Wine Industry. Senator Murray secured a $976,000 increase over the fiscal year 2001 level for small fruits research, which benefits the economic competitiveness of grape, red raspberry, cranberry, blueberry, strawberry, and other small fruits growers. The bill provides $500,000 under ARS to the Northwest Center for Small Fruits Research for program upgrades and cooperative agreements, and a $400,000 increase to the Center for viticulture research to assist the booming Northwest wine and grape industry. In addition, under CSREES, the bill provides $400,000 for small fruits research, a $76,000 increase over the fiscal year 2001 level.

Building a Stronger Shellfish Industry. [$300,000 for Washington State] Senator Murray secured $300,000 for a new ARS shellfish genomics research position at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon. While the West Coast is now the largest regional producer of oysters, domestic production does not meet national demand. This new research will help keep the industry competitive in the long-term. The funding will allow ARS to begin a West Coast multi-state shellfish research program that focuses on genetics, ecology, and food quality.

Enhancing the Efficiency of the Asparagus Industry. [$325,000 nationwide] Senator Murray secured a $100,000 increase for asparagus technology and production research, raising the federal investment in this research to $325,000. Researchers at Washington State University and Michigan State University will use the federal funding to investigate the substitution of technology for labor in the production, packing, processing, and distribution of asparagus. Trade agreements have placed Northwest asparagus producers at a competitive disadvantage in international and domestic markets. This research - combined with other steps - will help place the industry on a level playing field.

Assisting the Floriculture and Nursery Industry. Senator Murray secured an $800,000 increase for ARS floriculture and nursery research. Nursery and greenhouse products rank third in the nation.

Solutions to Aquaculture Pathogens. [$750,000 for Washington State] Senator Murray secured $750,000 for the Northwest Center for Aquaculture Research and Education, a $465,000 increase over fiscal year 2001. The Center is jointly operated by Washington State University and the University of Idaho. The Center is developing solutions to domestic and foreign pathogens that limit the growth potential of the Northwest aquaculture industry.

Mapping the Genetic Attributes of Barley. [$950,000 for Northwest] Senator Murray secured $950,000 for the barley gene mapping special research grant under CSREES, a $362,000 increase over fiscal year 2001. The national barley gene mapping effort is administered by Oregon State University (transferred from Washington State University in 1995). The goal is to map genetic attributes of barley and identify economically important agronomic and quality traits that can be incorporated into breeding programs. All genetic stocks, probes, markers, and data generated by this program are publicly available.

Other funding secured by Senator Murray: Restored funding for five ARS budget cuts proposed by the Administration's budget:

  • Potato research at Prosser
  • Malignant Catarrhal Fever (MCF) research at Pullman
  • Grain legume plant pathologist at Pullman Root disease of wheat and barley research at Pullman
  • Temperate fruit fly research at Yakima

Provided funding for the following CSREES special research grants:

  • $499,000 for Solutions to Environmental and Economic Problems (STEEP)
  • $328,000 for Cool Season Food Legume research
  • $679,000 for competitiveness of agriculture and forestry products
  • $359,000 for jointed goatgrass research
  • $422,000 for grass seed cropping systems
  • $399,000 for molluscan shellfish research


In addition to securing earmarked funding for specific Northwest projects, Senator Murray also secured increases in federal programs that benefit Washington State.

Providing Crop Protection Tools to Minor Crops. [$9.9 million nationally] Senator Murray secured a $1,000,000 increase for the USDA IR-4 program, which provides pest management tools to minor crop growers. IR-4 conducts field trials and residue analyses to develop food safety data on minor crops, which result in the clearance of effective pest management agents by EPA. At least 40 percent of the pesticide registrations issued by EPA originate in the IR-4 program. IR-4 has achieved more than 5500 pest control clearances on food crops, more than 8800 clearances on ornamental crops and more than 150 biopesticide clearances to date.

Strengthening Potato Research. [$1.6 million nationally] Senator Murray secured a $153,000 increase for potato research under CSREES, raising the federal investment to $1,600,000 in fiscal year 2002. Washington, Oregon and Idaho make up the tri-state portion of the potato research program. The Tri-State Variety Development Program uses the research funds to produce new varieties that are resistant to pathogenic diseases, require less pesticides to produce, have desirable marketing characteristics, and offer the Northwest potato industry additional production choices.

The Agriculture Appropriations bill funds most agencies within the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including those that implement federal research, trade promotion, nutrition, domestic feeding, rural development, and voluntary conservation programs. The bill also provides funding for the food and drug safety and drug registration activities of the Food and Drug Administration.