Yes, this is from Trump’s proposed budget, not a Congressional proposal. But until Republicans shoot this down–if they do shoot it down–they own this (boldface mine; color original):
Welcome to the ARS Culture Collection (NRRL)
Please note that the President’s FY2018 budget proposal includes funding reductions for the USDA and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), including closure of the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research (NCAUR) in Peoria, IL and termination of all projects at this location. This proposal includes termination of the ARS Culture Collection project. Questions should be directed to Dr. Todd Ward, Research Leader and Director ARS Culture Collection (email@example.com).
- The ARS Culture Collection is one of the largest public collections of microorganisms in the world, containing approximately 98,000 isolates of bacteria and fungi. The collection is housed within the Mycotoxin Prevention and Applied Microbiology Research Unit at theNational Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, Illinois. The scientists and staff of the ARS Culture Collection conduct and facilitate microbiological research that advances agricultural production, food safety, public health, and economic development. These goals are pursued through in-house research that improves understanding and utilization of microbiological diversity and through efforts to enhance the value and accessibility of microbial accessions in the Agricultural Research Service Culture Collection.
This center collects and distributes agricultural pathogens–kind of important–including Fusarium oxysporum. Do you know what F. oxysporum infects?
Bananas. And we don’t want this to happen:
Seriously, this is a valuable scientific and economic resource to the U.S. Shutting down the NRRL would be a major blow to researchers trying to figure out how to control agricultural pests–and it’s not clear, once this happens, how the culture would or could be recreated.
It’s worth noting that the NRRL falls within the district of Democratic Representative Cheri Bustos, who is being hailed in some quarters as a rising star in the Democratic Party (‘common sense’, able to win in reddish areas, etc.). Time to contact her office and see if she can get the job done. Thanks to gerrymandering the NRRL is surrounded on three sides by Republican Rep. Darin LaHood’s district, only a few hundred yards away (and I’m sure some of the ARS researchers live in his district as well). Bug him too.
This is very shortsighted and foolish–all so Donald Trump’s offspring and other wonderful rich people can have more tax cuts.