At their June 25, 2021 meeting, the USAIN Executive Council voted to approve a letter of support endorsing the White House proposed budget FY2022. This budget provides a significant 18% increase in funding to the National Agricultural Library (NAL). Some of the funds will be dedicated to the improvement of search tools such as AGRICOLA, PubAg and AgData Commons. A significant amount is also targeted for Life Cycle Assessment, an evaluation of all inputs, outputs, and the environmental impact associated with agricultural production, processing, distribution, and consumption and related activities. You can read more explanation about the proposed budget at the USDA website.
USAIN will send this letter to members of the House and Senate appropriations committees. Please use the text of our letter as follows as a template for your own communications with legislators and government relations offices:
USAIN Letter of Support for the President’s Proposed Budget for Fiscal Year 2022
The United States Agricultural Information Network (USAIN) joins with the Association of Research Libraries, in support of President Biden's Proposed Budget FY2022. USAIN is an association of libraries and information professionals, many of whom are employed at agricultural land-grant institutions across the nation.
We are writing in support of President Biden’s proposed budget FY2022 that includes much needed funding to enhance the programs of the USDA and its agencies. The funding designated to the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) research programs and the National Agricultural Library (NAL) are critical for generating the latest quality information that farmers, researchers, policy makers and the public use to solve food production and environmental challenges in an era of rapidly changing climate.
We support the funding of USDA ARS priority research areas that include strategies for increasing crop and livestock production, improving the nutritional quality of foods and healthy foods for people, pets and livestock, decreasing food losses, revitalizing rural economies, conserving natural resources, mitigating climate change, promoting environmentally friendly and sustainable farming practices, and developing biofuels for clean energy production.
The USDA Agricultural Research Service's National Agricultural Library (NAL) fulfills its role, by federal mandate, as the primary agricultural information resource for the United States, in part by working closely with research libraries and information professionals, including members of the United States Agricultural Information Network (USAIN), who amplify NAL’s charge by providing direct information services and resources to faculty, students, farmers, researchers, small businesses, extension personnel, local government officials and policy makers.
With the designated funds, NAL can begin the important task of enhancing its collections, information products, search tools, and information services to better support innovative agricultural research and knowledge creation at the USDA and at cooperating institutions including land-grant institutions. The funding will give NAL and the nation a competitive advantage in curating and managing agricultural information for research and public consumption.
NAL’s areas of focus include: (1) enhancing existing literature and knowledge management search platforms, Ag Data Commons, PubAg, and AGRICultural Online Access (AGRICOLA), into the robust storage, search, and retrieval systems for primary agricultural literature, data, and reports; (2) building the systems, data, and standards for evaluating environmental impacts associated with agricultural food chain operations, systems, and products using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) measures; and (3) supporting scientists, scholars, and policy makers with in-depth searches and synthesis of the scientific literature and other resources for evidence-based decisions.
Agriculture is a critical sector that supplies food for the masses in the U.S. and abroad, improves the livelihood of rural communities, and is a source of raw materials that drive many industries, including food and chemical technologies, biofuels (e.g. ethanol), paper and textiles, to name a few.
The White House proposed budget FY2022 has prioritized programs needed to ensure a secure and safe food supply for the health of our nation. The USDA ARS and NAL play key roles in this sector worthy of a high-level funding. We urge you to join us in supporting the proposed budget.
Thank you for your dedicated service to the American people.
President, USAIN, 2021-2022