Purdue’s New Ag Dean Bernie Engel Testifies Before Congress to Seek Additional Funding for Ag Research

Although he won’t officially become the new Dean of Purdue University’s College of Agriculture until July 15, Dr. Bernie Engel has already hit the ground running and has recently represented the university before Congress.

Engel was one of the selected witnesses at a hearing of the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Research, and Biotechnology. The committee is chaired by Rep. Jim Baird (R-IN-4th District).

The hearing, held June 14, was titled “A Review of Title VII: University Perspectives on Research and Extension Programs”.

Engel spoke on behalf of Purdue’s College of Ag and pressed the need for additional funding for ag research to address national challenges.

“China, India, [and] Brazil have all made increasing investments in this area and are quickly gaining on, and in some cases surpassing, the U.S. in terms of capabilities. To remain competitive, we need to strengthen our commitment to invest in new facilities,” he said. “Reauthorizing the Research Facilities Act and increased funding would be a first step in meeting some of these infrastructure needs.”

He commented on agriculture’s role in national security by maintaining the nation’s food supply during times of global crisis.

“The recent global health crisis exposed significant risks to our country’s health, food, and ag resiliency. Land Grant Institutions play a critical role as conveners of partners, including federal agencies and private industry, to address this issue. Purdue is working with Sandia National Laboratories on an effort funded by the Department of Homeland Security to create a health, food, and ag resiliency university consortium to bring groups together to tackle this challenge,” he said.

Engel discussed the need for capacity funds, which he said allow institutions to have the right people and capabilities to respond quickly to local and regional issues while sustaining long-term research programs. He gave support for the Smith-Lever Act that authorizes the Cooperative Extension System and supports agricultural extension at 1862 land-grant universities.

Engel also stressed the importance of funding competitive programs that he said strengthen research projects through avenues such as grants and highlighted the need for ag research infrastructure to keep up with the efforts of other nations.

Click below for Sabrina Halvorson’s radio news report for Hoosier Ag Today.


Click below to watch Dr. Engel’s testimony before the House Agriculture Subcommittee on Conservation, Research, and Biotechnology, which is chaired by Rep. Jim Baird (R-IN-4th district).

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