Alexander, Frist Announce Support for FY06 Agriculture Projects

Posted on September 22, 2005

FRIST, ALEXANDER ANNOUNCE SUPPORT FOR FY06 AGRICULTURE PROJECTS 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 passed by the Senate today by a vote of 97 to 2, includes significant funding to support Tennessee’s farmers and important agriculture research efforts in Tennessee. “Farming is part of Tennessee’s storied heritage and these projects will help support our state’s family farms,” said Frist. “These projects will help support Tennessee’s farmers so they can continue to use smart and efficient practices in working the land, and generate jobs and growth in our economy.” "Agriculture is the backbone of the economy and culture of Tennessee," said Alexander. "With more than 40 percent of our land dedicated to farming and almost $40 billion in annual economic impact, it is critical that we work to ensure that farmers and rural communities have the support they need to remain healthy, productive and competitive. This legislation funds farm programs and projects that address conservation, research, pest control and other challenges to Tennessee's farmers. I'm proud to join Senator Frist in supporting it.” 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. The bill includes continued funding for fire and quarantine activities and new funding to help control nuisance animals in Tennessee. These funds will help farmers protect their valuable crops and improve productivity. $6.23 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 FY2006 Agriculture Appropriations bill must now be considered by a House and Senate conference committee.