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Senator Stabenow announces new legislation that benefits agri-business

September 21, 2011

Last week Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow, Chairwoman of the US Senate Committee on Agriculture, announced that she and her colleagues were proposing a new piece of legislation called The Charitable Agriculture Research Act.

According to the Press Release from Stabenow’s office, this new legislation would “amend the tax code to allow for the creation of a new type of charitable, tax-exempt agricultural research organization (ARO).”

Similar legislation has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Congressman Nunes from California, known as HR. 2959.

Both Stabenow and Nunes state that the benefits of such legislation would be the increased investment from the private sector in future agriculture research.

Stabenow states, “This is a ‘win-win’ effort that builds on decades of success and momentum by continuing to pursue new research – and doing so in a cost-effective way by engaging the private sector.” Nunes adds, “This bill provides an incentive for donations to ag research, creating an important new funding source and providing significant future benefits to innovation, production, and success in agriculture.”

While neither Stabenow nor Nunes explicitly mention private entities that will benefit from such legislation, it clearly will allow greater incentives for private corporations to make greater investments in agriculture research at the university level.

According to the corporate dairy industry, this new legislation is a benefit to them and other corporations and private agriculture associations. They provide a long list of agri-business entities that support the legislation, such as the American Farm Bureau Federation – a right-wing lobbying group for agri-business, and the Biotechnology Industry Organization.

At a time when food production, nutrition and environmental sustainability are paramount, government officials should not be providing greater incentives for corporate agriculture to be involved in a food system that benefits them and not the public.


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