WASHINGTON, D.C. (KAMR/KCIT) — Today, U.S. Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and John Hoeven (R-N.D.), members of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, introduced the Department of Energy and United States Department of Agriculture Interagency Research Act to require interagency collaboration on activities including environmental science, electric grid modernization, and rural technology development.

According to officials, the bipartisan legislation will develop partnerships that maximize limited federal research dollars to improve the ability to address key agricultural research needs.

Officials stated that the DOE and USDA Interagency Research Act also leverages the DOE National Lab system to help USDA meet the challenges facing the agricultural sector, stewardship of public lands, and economic opportunity in rural America.

“New Mexico is blessed to have a thriving agriculture sector, expansive public lands, and National Labs right in our backyard. With such resources at our disposal, it’s critical we capitalize on every opportunity to harness the power of our National Labs to further groundbreaking research,” said Luján. “That’s why I’m proud to join Senator Hoeven to introduce this bipartisan bill that will boost our public lands and agricultural industry by improving coordination with DOE and USDA.”

Further, officials noted that the legislation will also improve U.S. competitiveness in agricultural research and development compared to China and the EU and build on DOE-USDA initiatives like Regional Feedstock Partnerships and Bioenergy Research Centers.

“In North Dakota, our two biggest industries are energy and agriculture, and we’ve found innovative ways to connect these industries and create value-added opportunities for both our agriculture and energy producers,” said Hoeven. “This legislation will help strengthen the research partnership between the Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to expand the nexus between the two foundational industries of ag and energy.”

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