Bills in Congress would fund research on precision ag, AI
Posted on Jul 26, 2023 at 0:00 AM
U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Ga.) and Sens. Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.) and Raphael Warnock (D-Ga.) have sponsored bills in Congress to provide grant funding for projects to enhance artificial intelligence (AI), mechanization and other research to develop solutions to the challenges facing America’s agricultural producers.
In the U.S. House of Representatives, Bishop is listed as a cosponsor for H.R. 4162, the Land Grant Research Prioritization Act of 2023. Scott Franklin (R-Fla.) is the lead sponsor.
The House bill, which was introduced on June 21, is supported by numerous agricultural stakeholder groups, including the Georgia Pecan Growers Association, the Vidalia Onion Business Council and the Georgia Blueberry Commission.
“We rely on America’s farmers to produce the safest, most abundant, and affordable food, fiber, and materials. Yet they face many challenges such as supply chain resiliency, workforce capacity, input costs, coping with invasive species and pests, as well as the fallout of climate change. We must ensure that we are on the cutting edge of technology that can assist our farmers and producers,” said Congressman Bishop. “For over a century, land-grant institutions – like Fort Valley State University – have been at the forefront of research, development, and extension which has allowed U.S. agriculture to thrive. I am pleased to work with Congressman Franklin through this legislation to harness the power of our 1862 and 1890 land-grant institutions to explore how mechanized harvesting and artificial intelligence can help improve U.S. agriculture.”
The Senate bill, S. 2316, was introduced on July 18 by Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and cosponsored by Ossoff and Warnock, as well as Rick Scott (R-Fla.).
The bill would authorize the USDA to make priority research grants available for land-grant universities — including the University of Georgia and Fort Valley State University — to increase their research on precision agriculture and help more farmers and specialty crop growers benefit from new technologies. For example, precision agriculture can help farmers save money by using less water and fertilizer for their crops. The legislation would also authorize grants for invasive species control and aquaculture.
“Georgia growers have told me clearly: precision agriculture technology is key to Georgia’s agricultural future,” said Sen. Ossoff. “I’m pleased to partner with Sen. Rubio to advance the research and deployment of technology that will help feed the nation and create wealth in our states.”
To read H.R. 4162, click here. At press time, S. 2316 had not been published in the Congressional Record.