The Roundup -

Changes Proposed For Sidney ARS Under New Budget

 


As stakeholders and supporters of agricultural research in general, and our research here at Sidney ARS in particular, our goal is to keep you informed of items affecting the lab and its research programs, as well as reporting on research accomplishments. Consequently, we want to let you know about proposed changes for Sidney ARS in the President’s budget for FY2017.

In that budget, ARS as a whole has received a $17.5 million increase from FY2016 totals, a 1.5% increase over last year. At the same time, ARS has been asked to redirect $66.3 million of existing funds into five research priority areas, including climate change, clean water, foreign animal diseases, antimicrobial resistance and avian influenza. To meet that directive, USDA and the Office of Management and Budget have identified several research programs/facilities across the country whose research will be redirected to address these new priorities.

The Sidney, MT lab has been indentified as one of those facilities.

Under the President’s FY2017 budget, the changes to the Sidney lab are significant and include: 1. Redirection of our Insect Pest Unit (currently working primarily on grasshopper, Mormon cricket and wheat stem sawfly problems) to a new focus on climate change research to be performed at Sidney, MT. This means two of the four scientists and two techinicians currently in the Insect Unity would move to either our Weed Biocontrol program in the Pest Management Unit or to the Ag Systems Research Unit ($730,000 of Congressionally appropriated funds redirected). 2. Termination of two scientists and two technicians from our Insect Pest Unit, who would be relocated to other ARS laboratories outside of Montana ($450,000 Congressionally appropriated funds lost).

Given your interest as stakeholders of the Sidney lab, we want to keep you informed of any major changes affecting the lab and its research. As an executive agency, we support the President’s budget, but recognize that you may have concerns.

 

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