Senate panel advances funding for new MSU research facility, bioenergy development

Measure will support public-private research partnerships, improved food sustainability

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Senator Jon Tester and his colleagues on the Senate Appropriations Committee have passed legislation that will help Montana State University build a new research facility and expand bioenergy development, Tester and Senator Max Baucus announced today.

The Senate Agriculture Appropriations Act contains funding to support MSU’s Sustainable Food and Bioenergy Systems and a new Animal Biosciences Research Facility.

MSU President Waded Cruzado says the funding will create jobs and make necessary investments in Montana’s energy future and family farmers and ranchers.

"Agriculture remains the largest basic industry in Montana and Montana State University remains the leader in agriculture research and outreach to our farmers and ranchers,” Cruzado said.  “Consequently, federal support for agriculture must be a high priority for our institution and state.  I am particularly grateful for the FY 2011 funding in the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Bill for the ARS Animal Biosciences Research Facility.  I sincerely appreciate Senator Tester's and Senator Baucus’ support for MSU and the agriculture community in Montana."

Under the current legislation, MSU would receive $3.3 million to build the new research facility and expand its bio-energy and food sustainability efforts.  The legislation must first pass the full Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives before the funding can be signed into law.

“This is an important, long-term investment in energy development and agriculture—two bedrocks of Montana’s economy,” said Tester.  “This funding will translate directly to jobs on the ground and smart investments in our state’s potential for family agriculture, food production and energy sustainability.  And that means a more secure future for our kids and grandkids.”

“This is welcome news that will help some of our state’s best minds continue their work making advancements for future generations,” said Baucus.  “This is about putting more Montanans to work while making sound investments in the future of our state, and I look forward to going to bat for it as it makes its way through Congress.”

For a list of funding for Montana under the Agriculture Appropriations Act, click HERE.

What is an appropriations bill?
  • A federal appropriations bill funds the federal government.  12 appropriations bills will fund the federal government for the next Fiscal Year.
  • Less than one half of one percent of these appropriations bills consist of congressionally directed funding (also called “earmarks”).  This funding is not additional spending for the federal government, nor does it increase federal deficit.  Rather, it is a set of directions telling the government where it must use existing funds.
  • In the past, appropriations funding had been abused by anonymous requests with little transparency.
  • Since 2007, the process was overhauled to guarantee transparency and fair debate in Congress.
  • All of Tester’s and Baucus’ appropriations requests are online HERE and HERE.