Updated on 11/10/05: The funding listed here is now federal law. President Bush signed these appropriations into law on November 10, 2005.

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) -- Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray secured nearly $19 million for Washington state’s agriculture priorities in the fiscal year 2006 Agriculture Appropriations bill. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Murray was able to restore funding for numerous projects that were not funded in the president's budget for fiscal year 2006. The bill has cleared House-Senate negotiations and now goes to the President to be signed into law.

“I am glad to have been able to secure this critical funding to boost Washington state's agriculture industry,” Murray said. "The research enabled by this

funding will help Washington state farmers, producer, and research programs to remain viable and competitive in a global marketplace."

Among the projects for which Murray secured funding is $3.625 million for construction of the Agricultural Research Service Laboratory at Washington State University in Pullman. Researchers from the Agricultural Research Service – the body responsible for conducting agricultural research sponsored by the federal government – 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 the federal-state partnership, and is critical to the future of agriculture in the Pacific Northwest. Senator Murray has been a strong advocate for this facility.

"I'm especially excited about the funding for the ARS-WSU facility and partnership it helps foster," Murray said. "This partnership will be strengthened by a new, state-of-the-art research facility, which I am proud to fund. This project will play a crucial role in helping Washington state stay on the cutting edge of agricultural research and technology."

Senator Murray also restored over $6.5 million in proposed Bush Administration cuts specifically for Agricultural Research Service Projects, including: (though some projects are based in OR, all projects benefit WA crops)

  • Minor Use Pesticides in - Prosser and Wapato $147,454

  • Potato Research Enhancement - Prosser $293,314

  • Viticulture Research - Prosser $866,555

  • Air Quality - Pullman $223,673

  • Grain Legume Plant Pathologist Position - Pullman $248,580

  • Malignant Catarrhal Fever (MCF) Virus - Pullman 493,128

  • Microbial Genomics Initiative - Pullman $770,358

  • National Germplasm Resources Program - Pullman $246,910

  • Root Diseases in Wheat and Barely - Pullman $73,876

  • Temperate Fruit Flies - Wapato $36,938

  • Virus Free Fruit Tree Cultivars - Wapato $246,910

  • Hops Research - Corvallis, OR $790,782

  • Northwest Center for Small Fruits Research - Corvallis, OR $692,801

  • Shellfish Genetics and Marine Ecology Research - Newport, OR $754,514

  • Regional Molecular Genotyping - Pullman $179,000

  • Western Wheat Quality Laboratory - Pullman $495,000

Senator Murray also successfully included Washington state as an eligible state to participate in the Simplified Summer Food Service Program. This successful food assistance program will boost the state’s enrollment and participation in summer reduced-fee lunch programs by decreasing complicated paperwork and increasing reimbursements to food sponsor organizations.

"Washington state's participation in the Simplified Summer Food Service Program will help feed children who would otherwise have difficulty getting food outside of the school year," Murray said. "This is going to make a big difference in a lot of children's lives."

Following is a list of agriculture-related projects for which Senator Murray was able to secure funding:

  • Agricultural Research Service Research Laboratory Construction—Pullman, WA ($3.625 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 - ($322,000)
    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 wineries always have clean rootstock for planting new vineyards.

  • Asparagus Technology and Production ($248,000)
    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 2006 for domestic feeding programs. In less than a year from now all asparagus processors will have ceased operations in Washington state – moving to Peru -- leading to a surplus of more than 9 million pounds of asparagus.

  • Small fruits research ($443,000)
    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 ($679,000)
    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 ($359,000)
    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.

  • Research on TSE Strains ($500,000) – Pullman
    This funding will support diagnostic testing research on Scrapie, Chronic Wasting Disease and BSE at the Pullman Agriculture Research Service (ARS) facility. Scrapie, a nervous system disease in sheep similar to BSE in cows, has been a targeted disease for eradication by the U.S. Department of Agriculture for decades, but the disease has been intractable. This program brought about the first practical test for diagnosing the scrapie in live animals, and may help the livestock industry gain the upper hand on – and eventually eradicate – one of its worst problems. It may also help scientists find a live test for BSE. This funding will continue to support a research partnership between WSU and ARS to help find new ways to detect and eradicate these nervous system diseases.

  • Potato Research ($1,497,000)
    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.