Land Grant Research Prioritization Act Introduced

Josh McGillLegislative, Research

U.S. senators from Florida and Georgia have introduced legislation authorizing the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to make priority research grants available for land-grant universities. The grants would fund research and development of agricultural applications of artificial intelligence (AI), advanced mechanized harvester technologies, invasive species control and aquaculture. The senators who introduced the Land Grant Research Prioritization Act are Marco Rubio of Florida and Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock of Georgia.

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The Land Grant Research Prioritization Act could help fund studies aimed at controlling the invasive Asian citrus psyllid, which transmits HLB disease. (Photo courtesy of UF/IFAS)

Organizations supporting the bill include University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Florida Strawberry Growers Association, Florida Fruit & Vegetable Association (FFVA), Georgia Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, Florida Citrus Mutual, Florida Farm Bureau, Florida A&M University, Georgia Pecan Growers Association, Vidalia Onion Business Council and the Georgia Blueberry Commission.

“Florida’s land-grant universities are constantly innovating to address critical issues pertaining to agriculture and natural resource management in Florida,” Rubio said. “The Land Grant Research Prioritization Act will ensure that priority research grants are available to support cutting-edge research topics important to Florida to face these challenges.”

“Georgia growers have told me clearly: precision agriculture technology is key to Georgia’s agricultural future,” Ossoff said. 

“Farming is a tough job — which is why investing in agriculture research and precision agriculture technology is good for our producers, our economy and our planet,” Warnock added.

Florida Congressman Scott Franklin introduced companion legislation in the House of Representatives. “AI and other important research into mechanization, invasive species and aquaculture are promising solutions to keep growers economically competitive,” he said. “Our bipartisan Land Grant Research Prioritization Act is a timely fix to boost U.S.-grown food production and keep growers on the cutting edge.”

Mike Joyner, president of FFVA, said, “The prioritization and acceleration of mechanization and automation is critical to the future of the specialty crop industry.”

Source: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio

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