The American Farm Bureau Federation has identified the following nine program areas for funding in the fiscal year 2013 agriculture spending bill: animal health; conservation; export markets for agriculture; food safety and protection; crop protection tools; renewable energy; rural communities; wildlife services; and research.

In letters to the House and Senate agriculture appropriations subcommittees on Tuesday, AFBF President Bob Stallman said, "Farm Bureau strongly opposes any cuts to funding of the farm safety net. The farm bill discussion has begun, and the House and Senate Agriculture committees should continue to have the primary responsibility to ensure farmers and ranchers have a viable farm safety net."

Of its priorities, AFBF supports a $5.3 million increase for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to a total of $14 million for voluntary animal disease traceability.

As for conservation, the organization supports funding for conservation programs but prioritizes working lands programs over retirement-type programs.

Within food safety, AFBF would like to see increased education and training of inspectors, as well as additional science-based inspection, targeted according to risk and indemnification for producers who suffer marketing losses due to inaccurate government-advised recalls or warnings.

Research funding is also critical, said the organization.

 "Agricultural research is vital, particularly research focused on meeting the growing challenges of production agriculture," said Stallman.

"The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization predicts that farmers will have to produce 70 percent more food by 2050 to feed an additional 2.3 billion people around the globe. America's farmers are the most efficient in the world, but without a commitment to further agricultural research and technological advancement, even America's farmers could be hard-pressed to meet these challenges."

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