WASHINGTON, D.C. – Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden today announced that nearly $600,000 in federal funds are headed to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy and Oregon-based Resource Innovation Institute to support sustainable indoor agriculture research.
The funding is being administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Conservation Innovation Grants (CIG) program, and will fund research into key performance indicators, baseline data, and facility level benchmarking for controlled environmental agricultural facilities. This research will result in critical data tools, in addition to a strategy to address barriers in energy conservation and energy-efficient technologies, to improve access to energy use data and best practices.
“Agricultural innovation has long played a key role in Oregon’s rural economy, and has made countless contributions to our state for generations,” said Merkley, who serves as the top Democrat on the Senate Appropriations subcommittee that funds the USDA. “I’m pleased that this funding will help Oregonians keep us at the cutting edge of the newest technology in sustainable agriculture, and I will continue to partner with our state’s researchers and farmers to make sure Oregon agriculture continues to thrive.”
“Tackling the climate crisis head on through smart, sustainable farming practices is a must with both farmers and the environment standing to benefit,” Wyden said. “This welcome investment in Oregon’s farmers and researchers will further strengthen Oregon’s agriculture economy and bring us one step closer to a sustainable future.”
“Resource Innovation Institute was born in Oregon in early 2016, and now, with this USDA backing, we will extend our mission to support producers with horticultural efficiency services in additional resource-intensive agricultural markets throughout the United States,” said Derek Smith, Executive Director of RII. “We look forward to working in our home state with the support of Sen. Merkley, the coordination of the Northwest Power & Conservation Council, and the partnership of the Oregon Association of Nurseries and Portland-based Equilibrium Capital.”
“The nursery and greenhouse industry are innovators, and being responsible stewards of sustainable agricultural practices makes sense both practically, and also for businesses’ bottom line,” said Jeff Stone, Executive Director of the Oregon Association of Nurseries. “We applaud Senators Merkley and Wyden for working for to get this funding to Oregon, which will help reduce barriers to energy efficiency.”