U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) today announced that the Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 Agriculture Appropriations bill, which passed the full Senate today, includes funding for three important agriculture research efforts in Tennessee.
"We rely on our farmers for more than just food," said Alexander, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee. "Agriculture means more than $44 billion to Tennessee’s economy each year and employs more than 300,000 Tennesseans. This legislation will fund agriculture research programs in Tennessee to ensure that our farmers continue to play an important role in the both the Tennessee and national economies, while helping protect the environment at the same time."
The FY2010 Agriculture Appropriations bill includes:
• $1 million for the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for conservation assistance. This funding provides professional assistance to farmers and landowners in implementing state and federal agriculture and conservation programs in Tennessee.
• $1 million for the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture for alternative energy research. This project will help University of Tennessee scientists to research which plants are best suited to remove carbon dioxide pollution from the air and also to develop technology for the use of plants to produce clean energy. This research initiative will support the partnership between the University of Tennessee Research Foundation and DuPont Danisco Cellulosic Ethanol (DDCE) and will add to the efforts at the biorefinery at the Niles Ferry Industrial Park in Vonore, Tennessee. The mission of the Vonore facility is to produce ethanol, a source of clean energy, from non-edible plants which could be grown across Tennessee.
• $500,000 for the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture for hemlock forest protection. This project will help the University of Tennessee to expand its facilities to study and develop new ways to combat the spread of an invasive insect species that destroys hemlock trees. Hemlocks are vital to the life cycle of the forests and wildlife in Tennessee, including the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the Cherokee National Forest.
The Senate version of the FY2010 Agriculture Appropriations bill must now go into conference between the Senate and the House of Representatives.