Michael Mazourek is an assistant professor in Cornell University’s Department of Plant Breeding and Genetics who works with students and global partners to improve vegetable quality and nutrition for consumers. He comments on the impact of any possible loss of support – even a temporary interruption – of funding for agricultural research and outreach.
Mazourek says: “Universities across the country had responded to a mandate to directly address the needs of growers and consumers for nutritious, sustainable agriculture, and to access existing investments in technology that support these solutions. If the funding for those initiatives is cut off – even briefly – the teams of experts and students in training are dismantled and the programs are mothballed.
“Our efforts to improve disease resistance, nutrition and availability of seeds for regional food systems depends on USDA funding that is provided through grants, and especially ones provided for in the last Farm Bill. A gap in these funds leaves us scrambling to find ways to funding to ‘keep the lights on,’ which is a grim prospect these days.”