Rahall Wants U.S. AID to Consider ARS Center in Beaver - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Rahall Wants U.S. AID to Consider ARS Center in Beaver

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – In an effort to protect the jobs and avert the closing of the Appalachian Farming Systems Research Center (AFSRC) in Beaver, U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) Friday urged the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to consider investing in the agriculture research facility as it focuses on international agricultural research. 

"There is a natural alignment that exists between the USAID and the AFSRC that should be investigated to contemplate ways in which the USAID might take advantage of the tremendous human and physical assets at the Center," wrote Rahall in a letter to the USAID Administrator.  "Much of what the Center does would apply quite well to solving international agricultural problems."

The President's Fiscal Year 2012 budget request includes a proposal to close multiple Agriculture Research Service (ARS) laboratories across the country, including the facility in Beaver.   Rahall has gone to bat for the facility, asking the House Appropriations Committee to support its continued operations with funding and joining with Senator Jay Rockefeller in contacting the Secretary of Agriculture.  Rahall was successful in joining with Senator Byrd in June 2010 to negotiate an agreement with the Agriculture Secretary to provide continued funding for the Beaver facility for the duration of the Fiscal Year 2011.   

"Although I hope that funding will be provided for the continued operation of the AFSRC by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, I write to bring this facility to USAID's attention, given your agency's history of drawing upon the expertise in our country to provide technical leadership in international agricultural development.  The AFSRC is known worldwide for its excellence in fundamental and applied research," Rahall wrote.

Rahall is also exploring opportunities with universities and colleges in southern West Virginia, including some that already have cooperative agreements with the Agriculture facility, in an effort to help ensure the many assets of the Center are used to benefit the local economy

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