Bipartisan political support will continue funding for Peoria Ag Lab

President Trump wants to close the Peoria Ag Lab according to his recently released budget. Not so fast says our Washington, D.C., political leadership.

The National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research, as the Ag Lab is known, opened in 1940 and has developed a great reputation in the world of research. As of 2015, 80 Ph.D. scientists and 120 support staff members were working at the lab to invent industrial and food products from agricultural commodities.

Penicillin was invented and created at the lab. Xantham gum used in salad dressing was developed at the Peoria lab. There are many more very creative and innovated research projects ongoing day in and day out. Throughout the long seven-decade history of the lab there have been many research projects that don’t get the notoriety but contribute mightily to agricultural and industrial research.

Research is about the future. In order for Peoria and central Illinois to prosper, grow and continue to be one of the country’s leaders in research, our Ag Lab must remain open. Also, we must note the many dedicated people including researchers and support staff who are our friends and neighbors who have made the Ag Lab so successful in America and the world.

Congressman Darin LaHood, Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, Sen. Dick Durbin and Sen. Tammy Duckworth each have expressed their disappointment with the President’s budget and have indicated they will work together to restore funding.

There are no good arguments for eliminating Ag Lab funding but hundreds of research projects that demonstrate the need to continue funding. If research is about the future, then certainly the work at the Ag Lab is about the future of agriculture and the future of Peoria.

The National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research has been threatened before, and our political leadership stepped in and made the case for continued funding. Encourage our political leaders to keep up their efforts to make sure agricultural research and our Peoria Ag Lab have the resources necessary for the future.

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