Davis College Dean presents testimony to U.S. House Subcommittee
By: Norman Martin
Clint Krehbiel, dean of Texas Tech University's Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, provided testimony and responded to questions from members of the Subcommittee on Conservation Research & Biotechnology of the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture. The topic under consideration at the Washington, D.C. session (Jun. 14) was titled, “A Review of' Title VII: University Perspectives on Research and Extension.”
Krehbiel's presentation delt with the importance of agricultural research, specifically dealing with the nation's non-land grant colleges of agriculture of which Texas Tech is one. Today, there are approximately 70 institutions in 27 states with non-land-grant colleges of agriculture, all with long histories of successful programs in educating and preparing professionals in agricultural sciences and natural resources.
“Non-land-grant agricultural programs across the U.S. serve as a critical engine for future growth in educating our next generation of leaders, as well as proving important research and outreach programs within our respective states,” Krehbiel said.
“Our goal is to complement congress' investment in the land-grant system and to service important elements of our populations and agricultural industries alongside our sister institutions to foster the long-term productivity and competitiveness of U.S. agriculture,” he said.
Davis College has an enrollment of approximately 3,400 students and generated approximately $48.8 million in annual research expenditures, including approximately $25 million in federal research awards, primarily from USDA, over 2021-2022.
Krehbiel stressed that congressional support for Tech's research programs has real, direct impacts. USDA-NIFA funding helps support the college's genomics research on crop stress tolerance that is leading to seed technology that improves drought tolerance in cotton, sorghum, and soybeans, which is a critical asset for future agricultural production.
In addition, the college's research relationship with the USDA Agricultural Research Service's Ogalalla Aquifer Program has led to important improvements in water conservation strategies and increased productivity and profitability in water-limited regions of the Great Plains region, he said. In addition, support for policy research through the USDA Office of the Chief Economist results in high-quality policy and market analysis that is annually briefed to and used by the U.S. House Ag Committee staff.
“I believe that the data clearly indicate that the U.S. needs a concerted effort and investment in the research and outreach necessary to enhance U.S. agricultural output productivity and competitiveness, and that we must be cognizant of the influences that different funding sources may have on our ability to consistently deliver high-quality research that serves all of U.S. agriculture,” Krehbiel said.
Looking ahead, Krehbiel noted that from his perspective infrastructure needs remain a priority. Now, the cost to upgrade and address deferred maintenance at U.S. colleges of agriculture to be $11.5 billion, with $38.1 billion to replace dilapidated facilities. At Texas Tech alone, the deferred maintenance number is $6.3 million.
“The reality is, we can no longer meet 21st century food and fiber research need with mid-20th century facilities,” he said. “To better address the long-term needs for modernization to remain competitive internationally, we ask that Congress support a $5 billion mandatory funding program through the Research Facilities Act through Title VII of the Farm Bill.”
CONTACT: Clint Krehbiel, Dean, Davis College of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, Texas Tech University at (806) 742-2808 or Clint.Krehbiel@ttu.edu
- Agricultural & Applied Economics
- Agricultural Education & Communications
- Animal & Food Sciences
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- Natural Resources Management
- Plant & Soil Science
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Editor: Norman Martin
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