In a letter to House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, more than two dozen agricultural, nutritional and research organization asked for funding for the National Institute for Food and Agriculture in the 2007 farm bill.
The National Corn Growers Association, one of the groups to sign the letter, says that agricultural research is slipping behind inflation.
"NIFA strives to rebalance the portfolio of USDA R&D so that the sizable gap between food, nutrition and agriculture research and all other forms of federal research investments is narrowed," the groups say. "To do this, a proven model most closely resembling the NIH is the very essence of the NIFA proposal and one which we believe should be enacted in this Farm Bill."
The groups do not ask for a specific amount of funding, but contend that in competitive, peer-reviewed awards, the National Institutes of Health currently outspends the U.S. Department of Agriculture by 150 to 1.
Congress returns to Washington this week after the July 4th recess, and the House Agriculture Committee will continue development of the 2007 farm bill legislation.