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U of I Researcher: Proposed Agriculture Budget Cuts Would Hurt Research On Climate and Crops


University of Illinois professor Stephen Long says proposed cuts in federal agriculture research would see a Peoria lab close and hurt efforts to adapt crops to climate change. David Mercer/Illinois Public Media

President Trump’s proposed budget would cut $360 million from agricultural research, and a University of Illinois researcher says it is a bad time to do that.

Plant biology and crop sciences professor Stephen Long says the research the federal budget supports through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other agencies is crucial as the country tries to deal with climate change.

“We believe that there are ways we can adapt the crops to some of these conditions. A lot of that work at the Department of Energy and the United States Department of Agriculture is on the chopping block,” Long said.

Trump’s budget was delivered to Congress in May, and many lawmakers have been broadly critical.

Last week a bipartisan group that included Republican U.S. Rep. Darin LaHood and Illinois' two senators, Democrats Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth, urged Trump to scrap plans included in the budget to close a federal agriculture lab in Peoria, in LaHood’s district.

Months of budget debate are expected.