Jun 22 2006

SHELBY ANNOUNCES FUNDING FOR ALABAMA AGRICULTURE PROJECTS

U.S. Senator Richard C. Shelby (R-Ala.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today announced funding for Alabama agriculture projects included in the Fiscal Year 2007 Agriculture Appropriations Bill.

Senator Shelby said, “I believe the Agriculture Appropriations Bill goes a long way toward helping farmers and rural communities in Alabama and across the country by funding advanced research methods with the ultimate goal of eliminating devastating diseases and increasing agricultural productivity levels.”

Fish Vaccine and Microbe Research - $ 1.38 Million Senator Shelby said, "This research, conducted at the Agricultural Research Service facilities at Auburn University, has already led to the commercialization of two vaccines. These vaccines have helped reduce the loss of catfish infected by disease and this funding will allow Auburn to continue this important research."

Food Safety and Detection Program - $ 1.135 Million

Senator Shelby said, “Funding for Auburn University’s ongoing research to ensure consumer access to safe food supplies is included in this bill. These funds will enable Auburn to continue research to improve the safety of the U.S. food system by developing the science and engineering required to rapidly pinpoint, through an integration of sensor and information technology, problems that arise in the food supply chain.”

Improved Crop Production Practices - $ 1.7 Million

Senator Shelby said, "This funding will allow Auburn University, Alabama A & M, and Tuskegee University to conduct joint research of conservation tillage, precision agriculture and management of poultry litter."

National Soil Dynamics Laboratory - $ 1.12 Million

Senator Shelby said, "This bill includes funding for research activities, including studies in soil hydrology, weed ecology, and soil physics to be conducted at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) Soil Dynamics Laboratory at Auburn University. Historically, droughts have resulted in millions of dollars in losses to Alabama's row crop producers. 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."

Tri-State Peanut Joint Research - $ 585,000

Senator Shelby said, "This important funding will facilitate continued research into several factors affecting the peanut industry including pests, soil quality, water quality, nutrients, and overall production environments. The overall goal is to develop a sustainable sod based crop production system that is customized for the southeastern United States."

Catfish Genome - $ 925,000

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased these funds were included in the bill to conduct important research at Auburn University to identify genes that convey virulent traits, to identify pathogens, and to identify factors that influence expression of traits in catfish.”

Horn Fly Research - $ 198,000

Senator Shelby said, "This funding will assist Auburn University in their efforts to develop a horn fly vaccine. Economic losses due to horn fly stress on beef and dairy cattle continue to be significant, proving the necessity for this invaluable research. This anti-feeding vaccine in development is easily administered, species targeted, long lasting and environmentally acceptable."

Alabama Wildlife Federation Conservation Education Center - $ 442,000

Senator Shelby said, “This bill includes funding for a cooperative program with the Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) for conservation education. The DCNR will work cooperatively with the Alabama Wildlife Federation to provide a hands-on education about a variety of ecosystems and how they can be conserved. The center will teach environmental responsibility while understanding the opportunities and uses of our natural resources.”

Alabama Beef Connection - $ 842,000

Senator Shelby said, "This bill includes funding for the Alabama Beef Connection program. This program allows us to track cattle as they move from farm to market and will provide greater information to public health officials who monitor beef products."

Alabama Association of Conservation Districts - $ 99,000

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased the legislation includes funding for the Alabama Association of Conservation Districts, which aims to educate students about rural and urban conservation practices.”

Seafood Antibiotic Testing In the report language, the Committee acknowledged their concerns regarding seafood safety issues posed by banned antibiotic contamination in farm-raised shrimp imports.

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased that the bill includes direction for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop, in cooperation with state testing programs, a program for increasing the inspection of imported shrimp for banned antibiotics.”

Pine Barren Watershed Extension Senator Shelby said, “This funding will aid residents in Alabama and Florida by extending the Pine Barren Channel into Florida. This will greatly reduce flooding in the Atmore, Alabama area.”

Peanut Storage Program - $ 77 Million The bill includes language to extend the peanut storage program for an additional year. The 2002 Farm bill included funding authorization for the program through 2006, rather than extending it through the life of the bill.

Senator Shelby said, “This funding is essential to ensure proper storage and handling of peanuts after they are harvested. I am pleased we were able to address this problem and include funding to cover the final year of the program.”

The following nationwide programs will also be funded through the Fiscal Year 2007 Agriculture Appropriations Bill:

Circuit Riders - $ 13.75 Million

Senator Shelby said, “The bill includes funding for Circuit Riders, or on-site field assistance, to provide information to small communities so they are able to better comply with EPA water regulations regarding arsenic, radon, and other chemicals that may be in water.”

Rural Water and Wastewater Grants and Loans - $ 524.96 Million

Senator Shelby said, “I am pleased the bill includes funding for a competitive grant and loan program for communities in Alabama and across the country. This program will provide the resources necessary to allow communities to ensure they have a clean and safe water supply.”