Investments in USDA for barley

The National Barley Improvement Committee (NBIC) is excited to confirm that the FY23 federal omnibus spending bill increased the annual appropriation to the Barley Pest Initiative (BPI) by $1 million annually, bringing the total to $3 million. These funds are allocated each year to support researchers at U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Research Service stations and land-grant universities across 15 states. The NBIC is committed and is actively seeking additional funding increases in FY24 appropriations to reach their $5.3 million goal.

Barley pests cause 5 to 15% yield reductions annually, resulting in losses of $36 to $118 million a year nationwide to growers. The BPI strengthens the capacity of the national public sector barley research infrastructure to address 20 major insect, viral, bacterial and fungal threats to the production of high-quality barley. The initiative focuses on improved environmental sustainability and economic returns to barley growers, while meeting the needs of domestic and export end-users for high-quality barley.

Scientists are working to develop management and genetic resistance strategies to mitigate or eliminate the substantial negative economic impact of major barley pests. This enhances the competitiveness of the barley crop, promoting a robust and high-quality supply of domestic barley for various end users, thus minimizing industry reliance on global imports. To learn more about the BPI and targeted pests, visit the NBIC website.

This article originally appeared in the February 2023 issue of Wheat Life Magazine.

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