October 20, 2005
Federal funding for research on pasture-based animal production systems
is included in the recently approved Senate Agriculture Appropriations Bill for FY2006, but is not included in the House version. We need your immediate action to make sure funding for these important programs is approved during the conference process that is currently underway to resolve differences. These funding requests were made to Congress by the
private-sector members of the Northeast Pasture Research and Extension Consortium that is described below.
Please contact your Congressional members (especially House members –
U.S. Capitol switchboard is (202) 224-3121) and ask for their support during reconciliation to:
• Restore $500,000 for “pasture systems and watershed management” research to evaluate sustainable forage-livestock systems and nutrient management to protect water quality carried out at the USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Pasture Systems and Watershed Management Research Unit, University Park, PA, that originated as a Congressional add-on in FY2001. This is a regional laboratory that conducts grazing research throughout the Northeast Region.
• Restore $1,894,000 for “Pasture-Based Beef Systems for Appalachia,” the forage-livestock systems research program being carried out by the USDA-ARS Appalachian Farming Systems Research Center in Beaver, WV,in
cooperation with West Virginia University, Virginia Tech, and the University of Georgia. This project originally was funded as a Congressional add-on in FY2000. It addresses production and marketing over the entire production cycle of beef from calf to meat on the plate.
• Provide $400,000 for the proposed dairy grazing research initiative at the USDA-ARS North Appalachian Experimental Watershed facility, Coshocton, Ohio.
NEED FOR A NEW STRATEGY: The future of rural communities in the Northeast depends upon solving the problems that limit the successes of
existing farmers and the opportunities for new producers. A stakeholder-driven research strategy is needed that focuses on economic sustainability, environmental stewardship, and plant and animal systems that yield healthy pasture-based animal products and save fossil fuels. Northeast farmers have led the way in developing innovative forage- and pasture-based systems that preserve open space in an urbanizing landscape. They need more objective and defensible information on grazing systems adapted to their unique growing conditions, and results that help graziers, agricultural lenders, and policy leaders make better informed decisions. This new strategy must support these innovators on dairy and livestock farms of all sizes from New England to the mid-Atlantic Region.
SPONSOR: The Northeast Pasture Research and Extension Consortium is a
private-public partnership of producers, agri-business suppliers, and NGOs from the Northeast Region (13 states, New England to Maryland, West
Virginia, and Ohio), and representatives from land-grant universities, USDA-ARS, and USDA-NRCS who conduct grazing research and provide technology transfer. The stakeholder members of the Consortium recommend the priorities for research and educational programs. Emphasis is on dairy, beef, sheep, goat, and horse enterprises across the Northeast Region.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION: Please contact Angus Johnson, dairy roducer
and Private-Sector Co-Chair, Northeast Pasture Consortium, 603.325.5300, Dublin, NH; Dick Warner, beef producer and Chair, Consortium Stakeholder Action Committee, firstname.lastname@example.org, Cincinnatus, NY; or Chuck Krueger, Executive Director, Northeast Pasture Consortium,
email@example.com, State College, PA.