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Education

Federal agriculture official visits Purdue

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USDA

Millions of dollars in federal funding for Purdue is tied to the U.S. Farm Bill, including money from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) specifically for land grant universities.

Sonny Ramaswamy is the director of NIFA and a former associate dean in Purdue’s College of Agriculture. He realizes budget cuts are likely, but says he’ll make a strong case against severe reductions in that money as Congress writes a new Farm Bill this year.

“I hope Congress, as it’s thinking about this, will not lose sight of the fact that it is research, it is education that keeps us ahead of the game,” he says. “Yes, everybody’s ox is going to be gored, but maybe there are certain things you want to subject to a little bit less of a reduction, as it were.”

Ramaswamy says NIFA funding is an investment that results in better food security and national security, because it aligns science with the challenges of today. He says this is being done through research underway at land grant universities focusing on such things as sustainable energy and food security.

“The diminishing water and land resources and things like that, we’re going to have to have much better ability to grow these crops and livestock,” he says. “What’s being done at Purdue that’s being funded by us (NIFA) is directly applicable and relevant to the context of Africa.”

The Institute gave Purdue approximately $22 million dollars in 2012.