Leahy, UVM Officials Announce More Than $15 M In Grants For Research And Extension Work

. . . Vermont Reaps More Benefits From The 2014 Farm Bill

BURLINGTON (FRIDAY, July 17, 2015) – Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) Friday joined officials and researchers at the University of Vermont Miller Farm to announce that more than $15 million in grants and funding has been awarded to the university in the year-and-a-half since the 2014 Farm Bill was signed into law.  The funding, awarded through a wide array of Farm Bill programs, supports new agricultural research and extension projects throughout the state.

Leahy said: “The relationship between the University of Vermont and the U.S. Department of Agriculture is so rewarding and successful that it defies a quick snapshot.  At a minimum, $15 million have been awarded to UVM by the USDA in the first 16 months of this Farm Bill, with at least 35 innovative projects underway.  This federal support enables the University and its partners to deliver real benefits to our farmers, our rural communities and to our watersheds through applied research and the best Extension work in the country.”

In the 16 months since Leahy stood with President Obama as he signed the 2014 Farm Bill into law, the University of Vermont has successfully competed for more than $15 million to undertake a wide range of research and extension work.  Funding currently supports innovative agricultural water-quality projects in the Lake Champlain Basin conducted by UVM Extension agents Jeff Carter in Addison County and Dr. Heather Darby in Franklin County.  Farm Bill grants have also helped to establish farm-led work groups to tackle conservation issues and the demonstration of cover crops.

The diversity of the Leahy-led Farm Bill extends beyond agriculture and conservation initiatives, as UVM Extension undertakes youth risk behavior prevention in rural communities through a five-year grant of more than $500,000 from the USDA.  Scientists at the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are doing cutting-edge research into sustainable pest control, hoof-and-mouth disease prevention and rural economic development with Farm Bill grants.  With the help of Farm Bill-authorized programs, the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources has built partnerships with the U.S. Forest Service to yield 19 grants and more than $1 million.

The 2014 Farm also provides fundamental program support for UVM Agricultural Extension, enabling the successful administration of the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education grant program for the entire northeast region. 

Leahy, the senior-most member of the Senate Agriculture Committee and the Senate Appropriations Committee, played a pivotal role in negotiating the 2014 Farm Bill. As one of the largest domestic spending bills considered by Congress, the bill funds all USDA programs including agricultural research, food safety, family nutrition programs and rural development.   As a member and former chair of Senate Agriculture Committee for more than 40 years, previous Farm Bills have helped to usher born-in-Vermont ideas to the forefront of national policy, including the national organic standards and labeling program and dairy policy.

Friday, Leahy lauded the effort of all those involved and said that research and work conducted through Farm Bill grants in Vermont is so extensive that $15 million in the past 16 months was likely a conservative estimate.

Leahy’s full statement from the event can be found here.

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