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Senate passes agriculture, FDA bill

ACROSS MISSISSIPPI — The FY2010 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration Appropriations Bill (HR.2997) has been approved by an 80-17 vote in the U.S. Senate. As a member of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, Sen. Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) will now serve on a joint conference committee to reconcile differences in the House and Senate-passed versions of the bill.

The following are highlights of funding for Mississippi in the measure:

• Jamie Whitten Delta States Research Center, Stoneville — $4 million in USDA Agriculture Research Service (ARS) funds to continue repairs and renovations to the ARS

• National Center for Natural Products Research, University of Mississippi — $3.49 million for Phase II construction, and $1.6 million in Food and Drug Administration (FDA) funds to support dietary supplements research

• Alcorn State University — $1.5 million in ARS funds for a facility to support research on applying advanced technologies to environmental and agriculture challenges

• Mississippi Valley State University — $1 million in USDA National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA) funds to support curriculum development, university research, education and outreach programs

• University Center for Biomass-Based Energy, Mississippi State University (MSU) — $839,000 in NIFA funding to support development of a plant-based gasification process to produce liquid fuel, a program that also involves Oklahoma State University

• Genomics for Southern Crop Stress and Disease, MSU — $797,000 in NIFA funding to continue the study of crop genomics to improve agriculture production

Of consequence to Mississippi, the measure provides $1.79 billion for the Farm Service Agency (FSA), including $67 million in new funding to modernize FSA computer systems nationwide to improve the delivery of commodity and disaster payments to producers.

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