Merkley Vows to Protect Pendleton Agricultural Research Station from Devastating Cuts

WASHINGTON, D.C. – As the 2016 appropriations process gets underway in the U.S. Capitol, Oregon’s Senator Jeff Merkley is vowing to go to bat for essential programs in Oregon, including the Columbia Plateau Conservation Research Center near Pendleton. 

Merkley is the top Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee and is working with his Republican counterpart to draft the bill that will fund the Agricultural Research Service, along with other aspects of rural development, food safety, and agricultural investments, for Fiscal Year 2016 (FY16).

The President’s proposed budget for FY16 would cut $911,000, or almost half its yearly funding, from the Columbia Plateau Conservation Research Center, an Eastern Oregon-based research station of the federal Agricultural Research Service.  This facility conducts cutting-edge research on dryland cropping systems on the Columbia Plateau, which are used widely across Eastern Oregon.  

“Oregon’s economic success depends on agriculture,” said Merkley. “Cutting local agricultural research that can respond directly to the challenges and opportunities our farmers and ranchers see on the ground means missing out on huge opportunities to strengthen our economy and support Oregon families. I joined the Appropriations Committee so that Oregon has a voice in these decisions, and I will be pushing hard to ensure that the Columbia Plateau Conservation Research Center has the full funding it needs to support a strong farming economy in Eastern Oregon.”