Groups want USDA to consider supporting private innovations

Some agricultural groups want Congress to allow start-up companies to compete for research funding opportunities at the USDA.

Legislative director Burton Eller with the National Grange, an agriculture and rural community advocacy group, tells Brownfield USDA needs to diversify funding to speed up the creation and adoption of emerging technologies.

“Some of the best thinking minds, innovations, and breakthroughs that could possibly come in the next four to six years could well be from a startup, private company, and Congress is well authorized to make appropriations that can include private industries to compete for grants,” he says.

The group cites success with Department of Energy loans to reduce emissions in the energy sector and asks Congress in the next fiscal year to direct the Economic Research Service to research and analyze how USDA providing public financing could support food and agricultural technologies.

Eller says he sees the benefits of startup partnerships in healthcare which is why their organization is joining the request along with other nonprofits and ag startups.

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