(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Thursday, the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology held a hearing titled Putting Food on the Table – A Review of the Importance of Agriculture Research, which focused on the “scope, importance, value and impact of federal agriculture research.” Much of the meeting focused on the National Bio and Agro-defense Facility (NBAF) being built in Manhattan, Kan., and related research endeavors.
This hearing was pitched by Congressman Roger Marshall, M.D., and featured several witnesses recommended by his office. One witness included Dr. Stephen Higgs, associate vice president for research and director, Biosecurity Research Institute, Kansas State University. Higgs highlighted the research, researcher training and the work they’re doing to ensure NBAF will be utilized to its fullest capacity.
A recent study highlighted the potential cost of a Foot-and-Mouth Disease outbreak, estimating that it would cost the beef and pork industries $128.23 billion over 10 years. There are currently no facilities in the continental United States that have the ability to study Foot-and-Mouth disease, but it is among the diseases that will be studied at NBAF.
“This research is instrumental in protecting our livestock, our economy, and our food security,” Congressman Marshall said. “The research completed at NBAF will be invaluable to our nation’s ag and defense industries. It is vital NBAF receives the support needed to be utilized to its fullest extent. This hearing touched on the resources and coordination needed to do that, and I am grateful to the committee for taking it up.”