U.S. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today announced that the Fiscal Year (FY) 2009 Agriculture Appropriations bill, which was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee late yesterday afternoon, includes funding for two 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 342,000 Tennesseans. This legislation will fund agriculture research programs in Tennessee to ensure that farmers continue to play an important role in the Tennessee economy, while helping protect the environment at the same time."
The FY2009 Agriculture Appropriations bill includes:
• $745,000 for the University of Tennessee (UT) in Knoxville to support the Phytosensors for Crop Security and Precision Agriculture Program. UT is among the world’s leaders in “phytosensor” technology: using biotechnology to produce plants that are used to monitor the environment on a large scale. The project seeks to combine state-of-the art technologies to produce crop plants that can be used directly as early-warning sentinels for the detection of plant diseases.
• $4.84 million for the Wood Utilization Special Research Grant program which provides more than $450,000 annually to the University of Tennessee in Knoxville to support utilization horticulture research. The University of Tennessee’s Institute of Agriculture is one of 10 centers nationwide that takes part in the wood utilization research program. The program supports the research and development of engineered wood products including composites, strand-oriented materials and other value-added products that are important to Tennessee’s forestry industry.
The Senate version of the FY2009 Agriculture Appropriations bill must now be considered by the full United States Senate.