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Senate Ag leaders introduce ag research foundation bill

Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich. and ranking member Pat Roberts, R-Kan., today introduced legislation to establish a foundation to solicit private donations to enhance agricultural research.

The bill authorizes the establishment of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research, a 501(c)3, a nonprofit organization, and includes provisions outlining the duties and structure of the foundation, including an appointed board of directors representing the diverse sectors of agriculture.

The bill also requires annual financial audits and good governance procedures for increased accountability and transparency.

“This model serves as a useful tool to foster new public-private partnerships among the agricultural research community, including USDA research agencies, academia, private corporations, and non-profit organizations.,” the senators noted in a news release.

They also said that there are precedents for congressionally mandated foundations across the federal government, including entities devoted to medical research, public health and safety and natural resource conservation and said some examples include the Foundation for the National Institutes of Health, Foundation for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and the National Forest Foundation.