House Committee Doubles Proposed Funds for Industry Research Add New Topic
- July 14, 2017 at 8:00 pm #16492WillieeArmelliniKeymaster
House Committee Doubles Proposed Funds
for Industry Research
ALEXANDRIA, VA — July 13, 2017 — The House Appropriations Committee has recommended allotting $500,000 to a key floral industry research fund — doubling the amount that Society of American Florists members lobbied for during Congressional Action Days.
More than 100 floral industry members traveled to Washington, DC in March for SAF’s 2017 Congressional Action Days, to lobby for floriculture research funding. Shown meeting with a congressional staffer (standing) during the event: North Carolinians Emma and Dana Cook, Julia’s Florist, Wilmington, and Mark Yelanich, Metrolina Greenhouses, Huntersville.
Members of the Committee wrote that their recommendation would allow the Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative (FNRI) “to expand research capacity.”
“The Committee values the importance of the floral and horticulture industry as floral and nursery crops are the third-largest domestic crop in value,” reads the report. “The FNRI is focused on addressing and solving the industry’s challenges and needs.”
The robust message of support is a direct result of SAF member engagement on the issue, said SAF Chief Operating Officer Drew Gruenburg, who noted that during and after Congressional Action Days, floral industry members worked hard to educate lawmakers on the valuable role FNRI plays in industry research, and the importance of the floral industry to the overall U.S. economy.
The message was powerful: The $500,000 represents a nearly 11 percent increase to the FNRI budget despite the president’s proposed budget, which called for agriculture research funding to be cut by about 20 percent. (The House later reduced that cut to about 3 percent.)
The money isn’t secure yet — the recommendation will have to be approved by the Senate, but Gruenburg said the powerful recommendation is worth a celebration in its own right.
“This is really big news: We have it in writing that Congress values the industry,” he explained. “It shows the power of constituent involvement.”
FNRI is a partnership among the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA’s) Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the floriculture and nursery industry, including SAF and AmericanHort, and the academic community. For two decades, funding through FNRI has included methods to address pest and disease management, improve flower longevity and quality and reduce pesticide use, among many other areas.
The Society of American Florists is the leading organization representing all segments of the floral industry. SAF is proud to provide marketing, business and government services to its members, including growers, wholesalers, retailers, suppliers, importers, educators, designers and allied organizations. The association was chartered by an act of Congress in 1884. To learn more about SAF or to join, visit safnow.org.
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