Rep. Devin Nunes and Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) has introduced legislation that would provide tax breaks to individuals and groups willing to finance agricultural research that has largely been ignored.

“This bill will provide a crucial way for private charitable donors to support agricultural innovation,” said Nunes, a member of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee.

Agriculture research funding has been short changed, Nunes and Stabenow said. And they agreed that funding for this research likely will not increase anytime soon. They claim that privately underwritten research would help U.S. farmers lead the world in agriculture production and lead to breakthrough discoveries.

Critics of the proposed legislation claim that the proposals would offer tax-exempt status to a few rich foundations and individuals who want to evade taxes.

The proposed legislation would set up agricultural research organizations, or AROs, which could be independent or in conjunction with land-grant institutions or other colleges and universitys that offer agriculture courses. Founders of the groups would be required to share the results of their work with the public in exchange for the tax exempt status.