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Mr. GETCHELL. Cotton dust/byssinosis have been identified as the number one problem of the cotton industry, but I believe there are hopeful signs in what we are now doing. I am very encouraged. Mr. HIGHTOWER. We want to be supportive. Thank you very much.
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PLANT STRESS AND MOISTURE LABORATORY Dr. Bertrand, could you provide the Committee the status report of the research effort in planning for the plant stress and soil water conservation research program and the proposed laboratory?
Dr. BERTRAND. The proposed laboratory in plant stress and moisture conservation has been in the planning stages during the last few months.
The architect has developed his initial plans and has made his initial cost estimates. We now have the design work completed. We are very pleased with the design work and what we have to date would indicate that we would be able to go forward with construction if funds were available on schedule.
Mr. HIGHTOWER. How does this budget provide for the construction of the proposed laboratory?
Dr. BERTRAND. This budget does not request construction funds for that facility.
Mr. HIGHTOWER. If you are going to move as you would propose to move, expeditiously, should not this budget contain those requests?
Dr. BERTRAND. The policy of the Department, through this budget preparation, has been that we would hold to an absolute minimum our requests for facilities. Therefore, this budget does not include this request.
Mr. HIGHTOWER. Does that throw the scheduling of the laboratory off a year?
Dr. BERTRAND. Yes, sir, it does. It would also, of course, mean an increased cost as a result of inflation if we are delayed a year.
Mr. HIGHTOWER. If this Committee put that in, how much money-even though it is not requested-should there properly be?
Dr. BERTRAND. The central facility is estimated to cost about $22 million.
Mr. HIGHTOWER. That is for the facilities and the building?
Dr. BERTRAND. Yes, the building, the greenhouses, the central laboratory; yes. This would be one of a kind, a very unique facility in that it would bring together those scientists that have the capability of contributing to the overall plant and moisture stress problem that faces us.
Mr. HIGHTOWER. You are very much familiar with the area that I am concerned about. We have heard comments about the small investment and the tremendous amount of agricultural dollars that become involved very quickly.
There is no question in your mind about the need for such a facility; is there?
Dr. BERTRAND. No, sir-Mr. HIGHTOWER. And you think it is going to be something that will more than pay for itself in benefits to the taxpayers over a very brief period of time; do you not?
Dr. BERTRAND. Yes, sir. Plant stress, moisture stress, insects, diseases, and other stress factors are costing us millions of dollars annually. This laboratory would provide us an opportunity to respond quickly to the research needs in those areas. Mr. HIGHToweR. In one of the richest agricultural areas in the United States, the water table is declining rapidly. We do not have a lot of time to wait to get some of these answers, do we? Dr. BERTRAND. That is correct.
REDUCTION FOR WOOL AND MOHAIR
Mr. HIGHToweR. This budget proposes to cut $1,075,000 out of the wool and mohair research. Since wool is a natural fiber and is a renewable resource, and is an alternative to man-made fibers, why are we cutting this area? Dr. BERTRAND.. I would again like to turn to Mr. Getchell to comment on that, if I may. Mr. GETCHELL. This is again a question of priorities. The sheep population in the United States has been steadily declining over a number of years. It is at a low ebb at the moment. Also, man-made fibers have taken over many of the markets once held by wool. We have looked at the research possibilities. There is no question about the urgency of problems facing the wool industry; however, we feel they can be addressed effectively by the states and by the industry itself. Mr. WATKINs. Will the gentleman yield? Mr. HIGHToweR. Certainly. Mr. WATKINs. I attended some livestock shows which were followed by auctions. The biggest surprise I had was the tremendous increase in sheep numbers in that hill and mountain country, which at one point did not have a sheep within one hundred miles. They told me it was one of the fastest growing livestock activities in the several surrounding counties. I was very impressed because having studied agriculture and not being accustomed to sheep, they told me they were making more money off one ewe than they were out of any of the hog production in that part of the country and even cow production. I was elated. This is very positive. I was very surprised to hear you say that sheep production is going the other way. It is coming on very strong in Southeast Oklahoma. Mr. HIGHToweR. The need for warm clothing is, of course, always going to be there. We know the cost of synthetic fibers is going to continue to go up as the cost of petroleum goes up. And, at a time when it would appear that the potential for wool is greater, that is the time we ought to spend more money rather than less money for research. We are spending billions of dollars—or the Congress is spending billions of dollars now on trying to find alternatives for the use of petroleum. Here is a natural. We have had this since the beginning of time. I think perhaps it is not the best judgment to go the other direction at this particular time. Thank you very much.
Is there any work being done on shipping cattle by rail car? I know there was some work being done a couple of years ago in Amarillo. I have not had a report in a good while. Dr. BERTRAND.. I want to call on Dr. Graham Purchase to answer that question. | But if I may return for just a moment to wool, last year Congress restored this item that we are talking about and directed that we aim that money at high priority areas of research. We have done that during the current year. These are high priority areas for the industry as stated by the industry in the current year's budget. Dr. Graham Purchase is our lead scientist in the veterinary science area. He will answer the question regarding shipping fever. Dr. PURCHASE. We have much research on shipping fever in El Reno, Oklahoma, and in College Station and Bushland, Texas. We have cooperation with the National Animal Disease Center on the agents that cause shipping fever. We have used vaccines before and after they are shipped and have tested the vaccines. Mr. HIGHToweR. I think perhaps my question was misunderstood. I am talking about the transportation of cattle by rail car. Many years ago it was very common. It has not been used. There are some problems with regard to it because of feeding and other various things. There has been research on trying to get the kind of car and arrangements that would make it possible to increase the rail traffic for cattle. Are you familiar with any of that research? Dr. PURCHASE. No. Mr. HIGHToweR. Just with the shipping fever and diseases involved? Dr. BERTRAND. Mr. Hightower, I am sorry, we do not have research in that area. Mr. KINNEY. I would like to say our research in this area would be very highly correlated with the other.
DROUGHT ALERT PROJECT
Mr. HIGHTower. I have one final question. Can you give the Committee an evaluation of the drought alert project that was conducted in cooperation with the ASCS, the Extension Service, and the Western Livestock Market Information Service? Dr. BERTRAND. Mr. Hightower, I am not prepared to give that. I would ask if Dr. Greenwood of Extension is? Mr. HIGHToweR. If not, we can add it to the record. That would be fine. Dr. BERTRAND. May we respond to the record? Mr. HIGHToweR. Certainly. Mr. TRAxleR. Without objection, so ordered. [The information follows:]
DROUGHT ALERT PROJECT This project demonstrated an excellent cooperative effort among several concerned groups including the Cooperative Extension Service, the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service, various farmer organizations and the Western Livestock Market Information Service to do something about the drought conditions in the Western and Northern states.
The project was strictly a voluntary effort among these groups and it did not involve any funding commitment from Extension. Initially the project was designed to help livestock producers in the affected areas in obtaining supplies and markets for hay. The project, however, expanded, and other efforts such as providing valuable information about range conditions and other useful information were eventually included.
Through the efforts of the Western Livestock Market Information Service, the information was circulated to users primarily from its computer information system AGNET. In all, 19 Western and Northern states affected by the drought participated in the project. Because of the success of the project, it has been incorporated in several state-wide task forces on drought conditions
Mr. HIGHTOWER. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
APPALACHIAN FRUIT RESEARCH STATION Mr. ROBINSON. As you know, Dr. Kinney, I have an interest in the Appalachian Fruit Research Station in Kearneysville, West Virginia. In the fiscal year 1981 Appropriations Bill, $500,000 was provided for the third phase of the staffing plan at the fruit research station in Kearneysville. I do not find any request for funding for fiscal year 1982. What is planned for fiscal year 1982?
Dr. KINNEY. There is a total of $2,027,700 planned for the Appalachian Fruit Research Station at Kearneysville, West Virginia, in fiscal year 1982, which includes the fiscal year 1981 increase of $500,000 for additional staffing. These funds will support 13 of the 24 scientist positions planned for this new regional research station. Our fiscal year 1982 budget does not include a specific increase for staffing at Kearneysville.
ANIMAL HEALTH AND DISEASE RESEARCH Mr. ROBINSON. I am pleased to see the increase in basic agricultural research. I have been worried in the past few years that we have not kept up agricultural research at the level which was necessary. What effect has the hiring freeze had on USDA agricultural research? I notice that there is no funding included for animal health and disease research. Can you explain this?
Dr. KINNEY. At times, the hiring freeze has prevented us from hiring the needed expertise. However, our overall research core of scientists and technicians has remained about level over the years.
The SEA research budget for animal protection in fiscal year 1982 is $80 million, which includes specific program increases for SEA-AR and SEA-CR. SEA-AR proposes an increase of $1.150 million for animal health and disease research.
For SEA-CR, an increase of $5 million is proposed in fiscal year 1982 for selected Special Research Grants in animal health. Research will be initiated or intensified on highest priority animal health problem areas as identified by the Animal Health Science Research Advisory Board. Solutions will be sought to the cause, diagnosis prevention, control or eradication of these animal health
hazards. No funds are proposed in fiscal year 1982 for animal health and disease research under Section 1433, P.L. 95-113.
INCREASED OPERATING COSTS Mr. ROBINSON. I notice an increase of $988,000 is provided for increased operating costs in human nutrition research. That seems rather substantial. Could you describe to me its necessity?
Dr. BERTRAND. These funds are requested to enable our human nutrition research activities conducted at various locations to continue unimpeded. The costs of laboratory equipment and other research materials continue to mount in relation to the price of commodities and other services in the market place. These funds are requested to provide an increase for these associated program needs. The amount requested does not provide increases for staff salaries.
WOOL AND MOHAIR RESEARCH Mr. ROBINSON. Last year we provided $1,075,000 for wool and mohair research, and I notice that you are requesting only $524,000 for fiscal year 1982. What type of research will the $524,000 be targeted toward in fiscal year 1982?
Dr. KINNEY. The $524,000 budgeted for fiscal year 1982 wool/ mohair research will be used to maintain and operate the wool pilot plant, located at the Western Regional Research Center in Albany, California. Research involving this unique facility will be carried out in close cooperation with industry research groups, and will concentrate on improving the efficiency and lowering costs of scouring and processing of American grown wools. Emphasis will be placed on woolen system processing and on use of American wools on cotton system spinning blends with cotton and man-made fibers.
BEE DISEASE RESEARCH Mr. ROBINSON. Last year $500,000 was provided in the HouseSenate conference for bee disease research. Can you tell me the status of any continuing bee disease research?
Dr. KINNEY. Honey bee disease research is being conducted at the Bioenvironmental Bee Laboratory at Beltsville, Maryland. We have just completed a study that demonstrated the most efficacious method of feeding chemotherapeutic agents to honey bee colonies. Last summer we determined that the stress of moving colonies many times did not influence the occurrence and incidence of European foulbrood-EFB-disease. This coming season we will be studying the influence of nutrition on the incidence of EFB. This may be a critical factor as EFB is endemic in areas where honey bees are used to pollinate apples, blueberries, and cranberries.
Since 1975 two new diseases of adult honey bees have been isolated and described at the Bioenvironmental Laboratory. One is the so-called F-virus that has been found to be related to heavy adult bee mortality in isolated cases; the other is a spiroplasma disease.
Our search continues for safe and effective agents to control bee diseases and pests. We are currently testing a non-chemical Bacillus thuringiensis formulation to protect stored and “in use" brood