U.S. Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced Senate approval of the conference report with funding for Alabama projects. Sen. Shelby said, "I believe this Appropriations bill goes a long way toward helping our country's farmers, and Alabama's farmers, by funding advanced research methods with the ultimate goal of eliminating devastating diseases and increasing agricultural productivity levels." The bill will now be sent to the President to be signed into law.
Included in the conference report is legislation co-sponsored by Sen. Shelby designed to protect Alabama’s catfish farmers. This language will prohibit continued use of the term “catfish” for the distribution and marketing of Asian fish sold in the United States as “catfish” The fish are actually a Vietnamese Pangasius species, distinctly different from American catfish. “The import of these Asian fish into the U. S. has had a noticeable effect on the domestic catfish economy,” said Shelby. “We must act now to protect American catfish farmers and our American economy.”
Catfish Disease Research - $400,000
Senator Shelby was able to secure continued funding for aquaculture and fish disease research to be conducted at the Agricultural Research Service facilities located at Auburn University. This bill includes $400,000 in funding for the project which will provide greatly needed scientific research for the development of safe and effective vaccines for the prevention of diseases in catfish to increase productivity, fish efficiency, and reproduction. Senator Shelby said, "I am pleased Congress provided this means of preventing disease in most animals and we are hopeful that the same will be true for catfish." Satsuma Mandarin Orange Research - $800,000 Sen. Shelby said, "This legislation includes $800,000 in funding which will allow Auburn University to continue their important research to increase Satsuma Mandarin Orange production in the United States. Auburn University's program is targeted towards developing early warning systems to protect plants from frost, to develop crop protection, and to create new genetic strains. It is my hope this research will help to revive the Satsuma industry that once thrived in the Gulf Coast states."
Precision Agricultural Partnership - $480,000
Sen. Shelby said, "This bill includes $480,000 for the Precision Agricultural Partnership, which conducts research to increase agricultural yields and profitability. This project uses technologies such as remote sensing, geographic information systems and global positioning systems to aid traditional farming methods."
Tri-State Peanut Joint Research - $600,000
Sen. Shelby said, "This bill includes $600,000 for Tri-State Peanut Joint Research. These funds will allow continued research into several factors affecting the peanut industry including pests, soil quality, water quality, nutrients, and overall production environments. The goal is to increase yields with crop rotations and conservation."
Alabama Gulf Coast Water Quality and Conservation Initiative - $200,000
Sen. Shelby said, "This bill includes $200,000 to allow the Natural Resources Conservation Service to work with private land owners to ensure the continued safety, high quality, and conservation of Gulf Coast Water systems."
USDA-ARS National Soil Dynamics Laboratory - $1,200,000
Sen. Shelby said, "This bill includes $1.2 million in additional funding for research activities, including studies in soil hydrology, weed ecology, and soil physics to be conducted at the ARS Soil Dynamics Laboratory at Auburn, Alabama. The drought of 2000 resulted in $329 million in losses to Alabama's row crop producers who typically contribute more than $700 million to the State's economy. It is imperative that we investigate ways to reduce drought related risks and find ways to address them in an effort to increase production and producer's profitability."
United States Department of Agriculture Food Safety and Detection Program - $608,000
Sen. Shelby said, "This bill includes $608,000 in funding for Auburn University's ongoing research to ensure consumer access to safe food supplies."
Central Alabama/Birmingham Water Quality Conservation Initiative - $150,000
Sen. Shelby said, "This bill includes $150,000 in funding for concentrated and coordinated conservation efforts to protect water quality. This initiative will also focus on wise use and treatment of land."
Red Snapper Research and Recovery Effort - $960,000
Sen. Shelby said, "This request is for funding to conduct field research, develop aquaculture technology and to support general snapper recovery efforts."
Nursery, Greenhouse and Turf Specialties Research - $320,000 Sen. Shelby said, "This continued funding will support research of greenhouse, nursery and turf horticultural products. The research will focus on areas such as new and improved pest resistant plant strains, utilization of new technologies in production, and strategies for crop scheduling. As the largest economic plant industry in Alabama, research in these areas are needed to maintain and fuel the industry's growth."
Sand Mountain Water Quality Conservation Project - $300,000
Sen. Shelby said, "This funding will be used by the Alabama Soil and Water Conservation Committee to complete the application of conservation practices in the Sand Mountain - Lake Guntersville Watershed project. Funding will assist in the establishment of conservation practices necessary to protect the water quality of Lake Guntersville.