Their relationships within the ag community, on the Hill, and within USDA were invaluable in getting AgARDA off the ground.
“Team Torrey showed real leadership and vision in developing an advocacy plan and fostering a group of committed stakeholders for this program. Their relationships within the ag community, on the Hill, and within USDA were invaluable in getting AgARDA off the ground,” said Dr. Alan S. Rudolph, Vice President for Research, Colorado State University
The 2018 farm bill established a novel agricultural research funding program within USDA, the Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority (AgARDA). Modeled after the successes of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E), AgARDA would foster innovative research and development projects that could have transformative results across the U.S. food and agriculture value chain. However, as a new and unfunded pilot program, the success of AgARDA was not guaranteed.
In order to realize the full potential of AgARDA, Team Torrey worked to develop Congressional champions, relationships with USDA research leadership, and a strong network of stakeholder engagement. By developing messaging describing the unique structure and potential of the program, Congressional and stakeholder awareness grew. In fact, House Ag Research Caucus Chairs Congressmen Rodney Davis (IL-18) and Jimmy Panetta (CA-20) quickly became champions of the program, circulating a “Dear Colleague” letter supporting AgARDA funding. AgARDA is now a regular priority in the annual Dear Colleague letter which averages more than 100 Congressional signatures each year. Team Torrey also worked with coalition partners to provide USDA with an AgARDA Roadmap that could guide the development of a strategic plan.
AgARDA achieved a milestone year in 2021. For the first time, AgARDA funding was included in the President’s FY22 budget request and eventually received $1 million in start-up funding in the FY2022 omnibus.
Team Torrey continues to work with Congressional champions, stakeholder groups, and USDA leadership to ensure continued funding for AgARDA through the annual appropriations process and to develop a strategic plan in preparation for the 2023 farm bill.
AgARDA receives $1 million in startup funding in FY 2022 omnibus
51 organizations support $50 million in funding for AgARDA in FY 2023
124 US House Representatives sign on to Dear Colleague letter in support of USDA research programs, including AgARDA.