Alexander, Frist Announce Support for Tennessee Agriculture Projects

Posted on June 24, 2005

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senators Bill Frist (R-TN) and Lamar Alexander (R-TN) today announced that the Fiscal Year (FY) 2006 Agriculture Appropriations bill, which was approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee yesterday, includes funding for three important agriculture research efforts in Tennessee. The bill was passed out of the committee late yesterday afternoon. “Agriculture and farming has a long and proud history in Tennessee,” said Frist. “By modernizing our agriculture industry, we can maximize the value of our resources while minimizing damage to the environment. Farming contributes greatly to Tennessee’s economy and supports job growth; this funding reflects our commitment to smart and efficient farming practices.” "We rely on our farmers for more than just food," said Alexander. "Agriculture means more than $20 billion to Tennessee’s economy and employs more than 200,000 Tennesseans. This legislation will fund agriculture research and education programs in Tennessee to ensure that the economic, environmental, and cultural benefits of farming to our state continue for future generations." The FY2006 Agriculture Appropriations bill includes: • $2 million for the University of Tennessee in Knoxville and Tennessee State University in Nashville to support horticulture research at the joint Appalachian Horticulture Research unit of the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service. This is a $250,000 increase over last year’s funding level. Research at the Appalachian Horticulture Research unit will help to develop resistant genes in dogwoods and other woody ornamentals and techniques to enable the rapid deployment of new cultivars for the marketplace. • $955,000 for the University of Tennessee and the West Tennessee Agricultural Experiment Station to support Cropping Systems Research, which is a $250,000 increase over last year. Funding will support efforts to improve crop value and protect water and soil resources in the Mississippi River watershed. Additional research is needed to help farmers optimize disease control while maintaining the best crop management practices to protect soil and water quality. • $6.23 million for the Wood Utilization Special Research Grant program which provides more than $600,000 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 FY2006 Agriculture Appropriations bill must now be considered by the full United States Senate.