The Senate Committee on Appropriations passed its version of a bill for federal funding to agricultural programs on Sept. 7 that puts back $1.2 million into the LSU AgCenter’s budget that had been taken away in an earlier U.S. House version.

“This is good news for the time being,” said Bill Richardson, LSU AgCenter chancellor. “The bill now goes to the full Senate for consideration, and anything can happen.”

The potential loss of these federal funds that help support the AgCenter’s research and extension program was a blow to the AgCenter’s budget, which has already suffered three years of steady cuts in the Louisiana state budget.

The proposed federal reductions were to the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which is an agency under the USDA that supplies funds for land-grant university programs in research and extension across the nation. The AgCenter’s proposed cut was part of a $200 million cut nationwide. 

“This funding under the National Institute of Food and Agriculture generates valuable research results and is critical to sustaining vibrant agricultural industries in Louisiana. These dollars grow jobs and support our communities across the state with investments in 4-H clubs, better farming practices, nutrition programs, wood recycling and timber management,” said Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., and a member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations.

“We are fortunate to have Senator Landrieu in a position on the appropriations committee to help our state maintain these funds for essential agricultural programs,” Richardson said.

While the report of the Senate’s level of funding is good news, final approval of the appropriated funds must come from both the full Senate and House,

Richardson expressed his thanks to the rest of the Louisiana delegation for their support of the AgCenter. “Their support has and continues to be instrumental in keeping these line items funded.”