House Committee Increases Proposed Funds for Industry Research
The House Appropriations Committee has recommended allotting $500,000 to a key industry research fund — doubling the amount that Society of American Florists (SAF) members lobbied for during Congressional Action Days.
Members of the Committee wrote that their recommendation would allow the Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative (FNRI) “to expand research capacity.”
SAF Chief Operating Officer Drew Gruenburg noted that during and after Congressional Action Days, floral industry members worked hard to educate lawmakers on the valuable role FNRI plays in industry research, and the importance of the floral industry to the overall U.S. economy.
The $500,000 represents a nearly 11 percent increase to the FNRI budget despite the president’s proposed budget, which called for agriculture research funding to be cut by about 20 percent. The House later reduced that cut to about 3 percent.
However, the money isn’t secure yet — the recommendation will have to be approved by the Senate, but Gruenburg said the powerful recommendation is worth a celebration in its own right.
FNRI is a partnership among the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the floriculture and nursery industry, including SAF and AmericanHort, and the academic community. For two decades, funding through FNRI has included methods to address pest and disease management, improve flower longevity and quality and reduce pesticide use, among many other areas.