< Back to H.R. 5832 (109th Congress, 2005–2006)

Text of the National Institute of Food and Agriculture Act of 2006

This bill was introduced on July 19, 2006, in a previous session of Congress, but was not enacted. The text of the bill below is as of Jul 19, 2006 (Introduced).

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I

109th CONGRESS

2d Session

H. R. 5832

IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

July 19, 2006

(for himself, Mr. Peterson of Minnesota, Mr. Thompson of Mississippi, Mr. Clay, and Mr. Akin) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Agriculture

A BILL

To establish the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, to provide funding for the support of fundamental agricultural research of the highest quality, and for other purposes.

1.

Short title

This Act may be cited as the National Institute of Food and Agriculture Act of 2006.

2.

Findings and purposes

(a)

Findings

Congress finds that—

(1)

the task force established under section 7404 of the Farm Security and Rural Investment Act of 2002 (7 U.S.C. 3101 note; 116 Stat. 457)—

(A)

conducted an exhaustive review of agricultural research in the United States; and

(B)

evaluated the merits of establishing 1 or more national institutes focused on disciplines important to the progress of food and agricultural science; and

(2)

according to findings and recommendations provided to Congress by the task force—

(A)

agriculture in the United States faces critical challenges, including impending crises in the food, agricultural, and natural resource systems of the United States;

(B)

exotic diseases and pests threaten crops and livestock;

(C)

obesity has reached epidemic proportions;

(D)

agriculturally related environmental degradation is a serious problem for the United States and other parts of the world;

(E)

certain animal diseases threaten human health; and

(F)

agricultural producers of several primary crops in the United States are no longer the world’s lowest-cost producers.

(b)

Purpose

The purpose of this Act is to establish a national institute—

(1)

to ensure that the technological superiority of agriculture in the United States effectively serves the people of the United States in the coming decades; and

(2)

to support and promote fundamental agricultural research and science of the highest caliber to achieve the goals of—

(A)

increasing the international competitiveness of agriculture in the United States;

(B)

developing foods that improve health and combat obesity;

(C)

creating new and more useful products from plants and animals;

(D)

improving food safety and food security by protecting plants and animals in the United States from insects, diseases, and the threat of bioterrorism;

(E)

enhancing agricultural sustainability;

(F)

improving natural resources;

(G)

strengthening the economies of rural communities in the United States;

(H)

decreasing dependence of the United States on foreign sources of petroleum by developing biobased fuels and products, enhancing methods of production at biobased fuels refineries, reducing energy consumption at biobased fuels refineries, and increasing the use of co-products of biobased fuels production;

(I)

strengthening national security by improving the agricultural productivity of sustainable farmers in developing countries to combat hunger and the political instability that hunger produces;

(J)

assisting in modernizing and revitalizing the agricultural research facilities of the United States at institutions of higher education, independent, nonprofit research institutions, and consortia of those institutions, through capital investment;

(K)

achieving such other goals, and meeting such other needs, as the Secretary or the Institute determines to be appropriate; and

(L)

ensuring the ability of United States producers to successfully combat sanitary and phytosanitary nontrade barriers.

3.

Definitions

In this Act:

(1)

Council

The term Council means the Standing Council of Advisors established in section 4.

(2)

Department

The term Department means the Department of Agriculture.

(3)

Director

The term Director means the Director of the Institute.

(4)

Fundamental agricultural research and science

The term fundamental agricultural research and science means research and science that, as determined by the Secretary—

(A)

advances the frontiers of knowledge so as to lead to practical results or to further scientific discovery; and

(B)

has an effect on agriculture, food, human health, or another purpose of this Act as described in section 2(b).

(5)

Institute

The term Institute means the National Institute of Food and Agriculture established by section 4.

(6)

Multidisciplinary grant

The term multidisciplinary grant means a grant provided to 2 or more collaborating investigators to carry out coordinated, multidisciplinary research programs involving multiple disciplines that have been approved by the Institute.

(7)

Project grant

The term project grant means a grant provided to 1 or more principal investigators to conduct research that has been approved by the Institute.

(8)

Secretary

The term Secretary means the Secretary of Agriculture.

(9)

State

The term State means—

(A)

each of the several States of the United States;

(B)

the District of Columbia;

(C)

the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico;

(D)

Guam;

(E)

American Samoa;

(F)

the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands;

(G)

the Federated States of Micronesia;

(H)

the Republic of the Marshall Islands;

(I)

the Republic of Palau; and

(J)

the United States Virgin Islands.

(10)

United States

The term United States, when used in a geographical sense, means all of the States.

4.

Establishment; composition

(a)

Establishment

There is established within the Department an agency to be known as the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

(b)

Composition

The Institute shall be composed of the Council (including committees and offices established under section 5) and the Director.

(c)

Standing council of advisors

(1)

Establishment

There is established a Standing Council of Advisors.

(2)

Composition

The Council shall be composed of 25 members, including—

(A)

the Director; and

(B)

18 members appointed by the Secretary, with the concurrence of the Director, 3 members appointed by the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives, and 3 members appointed by the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate, of whom—

(i)

12 members shall be highly-qualified scientists who, 6 as determined and appointed by the Secretary, 3 as determined and appointed by the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives, and 3 as determined and appointed by the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate—

(I)

are not employees of the Federal Government;

(II)

have expertise in the fields of agricultural research, science, or related appropriate fields;

(III)

are appropriate for membership on the Council solely on the basis of established records of distinguished service; and

(IV)

collectively represent the views of agricultural research and scientific leaders in all regions of the United States; and

(ii)

12 members shall be distinguished members of the public, as determined by the Secretary, including—

(I)

representatives of agricultural organizations and industry; and

(II)

individuals with expertise in natural resources, sustainable agriculture, energy, and human health and disease.

(3)

Term

The members of the Council shall serve staggered, 4-year terms, as determined by the Secretary and Congress .

(4)

Meetings

The Council shall meet at the call of the Director and the Secretary, but not less often than annually.

(5)

Chairperson and vice chairperson

The Council shall elect to 1 year terms a Chairperson and Vice Chairperson from among the members of the Council. One shall be elected from among the members described in paragraph (2)(i) and one shall be elected from among the members described in paragraph (2)(i)

(6)

Duties

The Council shall—

(A)

assist the Director in—

(i)

establishing research priorities of the Institute; and

(ii)

reviewing, judging, and maintaining the relevance of the programs of the Institute;

(B)

review all proposals approved by the scientific committees established under section 5(a)(1) to ensure, to the maximum extent practicable, that the purposes of this Act are being met; and

(C)

through the meetings described in paragraph (4), provide an interface between scientists and stakeholders to ensure, to the maximum extent practicable, that the Institute is coordinating national goals with realistic scientific opportunities.

(d)

Director

(1)

In general

The Institute shall be headed by a Director, who shall be an individual who is—

(A)

a distinguished agricultural researcher and scientist; and

(B)

appointed by the President (after taking into consideration recommendations provided by the Council), by and with the advice and consent of the Senate.

(2)

Term

The Director shall serve for a single, 6-year term.

(3)

Compensation

The Director shall receive basic pay at the rate provided for level II of the Executive Schedule under section 5513 of title 5, United States Code.

(4)

Supervision

The Director shall report directly to the Secretary.

(5)

Authority and responsibilities of director

(A)

In general

Except as otherwise specifically provided in this Act, the Director shall—

(i)

exercise all of the authority provided to the Institute by this Act (including any powers and functions delegated to the Director by the Council);

(ii)

in consultation with the Council, formulate programs in accordance with policies adopted by the Institute;

(iii)

establish committees and offices within the Institute in accordance with section 5;

(iv)

establish procedures for the peer review of research funded by the Institute;

(v)

establish procedures for the provision and administration of grants by the Institute in accordance with this Act;

(vi)

assess the personnel needs of agricultural research in the areas supported by the Institute, and, if determined to be appropriate by the Director or the Secretary, for other areas of food and agricultural research; and

(vii)

cooperate with the Council to plan programs that will help meet agricultural personnel needs in the future, including portable fellowship and training programs in fundamental agricultural research and science.

(B)

Finality of actions

An action taken by the Director in accordance with this Act (or in accordance with the terms of a delegation of authority from the Council) shall be final and binding upon the Institute.

(C)

Delegation and redelegation of functions

(i)

In general

Except as provided in clauses (ii) and (iii), the Director may, from time to time and as the Director considers to be appropriate, authorize the performance by any other officer, agency, or employee of the Institute of any of the functions of the Director under this Act, including functions delegated to the Director by the Council.

(ii)

Policymaking functions

The Director may not redelegate policymaking functions delegated to the Director by the Council.

(iii)

Contracts, grants, and other arrangements

The Director may enter into contracts and other arrangements, and provide grants, in accordance with this Act—

(I)

only with the prior approval of the Council or under authority delegated by the Council; and

(II)

subject to such conditions as the Council may specify.

(iv)

Reporting

The Director shall promptly report each contract or other arrangement entered into, each grant awarded, and each other action of the Director taken, under clause (iii) to the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate and the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives.

(6)

Status on Council

(A)

In general

The Director shall be an ex officio member of the Council.

(B)

Compensation and tenure

Except with respect to compensation and tenure, the service of the Director on the Council shall be coordinated with the service of other members of the Council.

(C)

Voting; election

The Director shall be—

(i)

a voting member of the Council; and

(ii)

eligible for election by the Council as Chairperson or Vice Chairperson of the Council.

(7)

Staff

(A)

In general

Subject to this paragraph, the Director shall recruit and hire such senior staff and other personnel as are necessary to assist the Director in carrying out this Act.

(B)

Senior staff

Each individual hired as senior staff of the Director shall—

(i)

be a highly accomplished agricultural researcher and scientist, as determined by the Director;

(ii)

be recruited from the active agricultural research and science community; and

(iii)

be appointed and serve on the basis of 4-year, rotating appointments.

(C)

Temporary staff

Staff hired by the Director under this paragraph may include agricultural researchers and scientists and other technical and professional personnel hired for limited terms, or on temporary bases, including individuals on leave of absence from academic, industrial, research, or science institutions to work for the Institute.

(D)

Compensation

(i)

In general

Except as provided in clause (ii), subject to such policies as the Council shall periodically prescribe, the Director may fix the compensation of staff hired under this paragraph without regard to the provisions of chapter 51 and subchapter III of chapter 53 of title 5, United States Code, relating to classification of positions and General Schedule pay rates.

(ii)

Maximum rate of pay

The rate of pay for an individual hired under this paragraph shall not exceed the rate payable for level V of the Executive Schedule under section 5316 of title 5, United States Code.

(8)

Reporting and consultation

The Director shall—

(A)

periodically report to the Secretary with respect to activities carried out by the Institute; and

(B)

consult regularly with the Secretary to ensure, to the maximum extent practicable, that—

(i)

research of the Institute is relevant to agriculture in the United States and otherwise serves the national interest; and

(ii)

the research of the Institute supplements and enhances, and does not replace, research conducted or funded by—

(I)

other agencies of the Department;

(II)

the National Science Foundation; or

(III)

the National Institutes of Health.

5.

Committees and Offices of Institute

(a)

Standing Scientific Committees

(1)

In general

The Director may establish such number of standing scientific committees within the Institute as the Director determines to be appropriate.

(2)

Composition

A standing scientific committee established under paragraph (1) shall consist of such members of the Council appointed under section 4(d)(2)(B)(i) as the Director may select.

(3)

Term

Members of a standing scientific committee established under paragraph (1) shall serve for staggered, 4-year terms, as determined by the Director.

(4)

Review of proposals

(A)

In general

A standing scientific committee shall apply rigorous merit review to research proposals received by the Institute to ensure, to the maximum extent practicable, that research funded by the Institute is scientifically of high quality.

(B)

Determination of scientific merit

A research proposal received by the Institute and reviewed by a standing scientific committee under subparagraph (A) shall be—

(i)

assigned a score based on the scientific merit of the proposal, as determined by the standing scientific committee; and

(ii)

if approved by the standing scientific committee, forwarded, along with the score, to the Council for final review.

(C)

Declination of proposals

If the Council determines that a research proposal forwarded under this paragraph does not meet standards of scientific review established by a standing scientific committee or any similar standard established by the Director, the Council shall decline to recommend the research proposal for funding by the Institute.

(5)

Ad hoc review members

The Director may supplement a standing scientific committee under this subsection with 1 or more ad hoc reviewers in a case in which a research proposal received by the Institute requires specialized knowledge not represented on that or any other standing scientific committee.

(b)

Offices

(1)

Office of Advanced Science and Application

(A)

Establishment

The Director shall establish within the Institute an Office of Advanced Science and Application (referred to in this paragraph as the Office).

(B)

Duties

The Office shall—

(i)

closely monitor national needs and advances in fundamental agricultural research and science with the goal of identifying pressing problems for which solutions are realistically achievable through fundamental agricultural research and science;

(ii)

coordinate creative talent from diverse disciplines to bridge potential gaps between fundamental agricultural research and science and high-priority, practical needs; and

(iii)

recommend to the Director ways in which existing fundamental agricultural research and science may be applied to the most urgent problems addressed by the Institute.

(C)

Staff

(i)

In general

The Office shall employ a small, focused staff of rotating experts in agricultural research and science.

(ii)

Talent pool; term

Primary staff of the Office—

(I)

shall be appointed from the ranks of active agricultural researchers and scientists; and

(II)

shall serve terms of not to exceed 3 years.

(D)

Intensive study groups

The Office shall—

(i)

focus primarily on the most urgent problems addressed by the Institute; and

(ii)

assemble such intensive study groups as are necessary to address those problems.

(E)

Reports

The Office shall submit to the Director and the Council periodic reports that—

(i)

describe the activities being carried out by the Office; and

(ii)

recommended new research priorities for the Office, as appropriate.

(2)

Office of scientific assessment and liaison

(A)

Establishment

The Director shall establish within the Institute an Office of Scientific Assessment and Liaison (referred to in this paragraph as the Office).

(B)

Duties

The Office shall—

(i)

monitor the effectiveness of the scientific expenditures by the Institute;

(ii)

oversee the coordination of research efforts of the Institute with those of other programs;

(iii)

assess the effectiveness of programs of the Institute by evaluating—

(I)

the quality of the science funded by the Institute, using such tools as are readily available; and

(II)

the contributions of the Institute to the national research effort, including ways in which the Institute collaborates and cooperates with the Department and with other Federal agencies; and

(iv)

encourage cooperative approaches among various research agencies within the Federal Government.

(3)

Office of Scientific Personnel

(A)

Establishment

The Director shall establish within the Institute an Office of Scientific Personnel (referred to in this paragraph as the Office).

(B)

Duties

The Office shall—

(i)

cooperate with scientific and agricultural experts to assess—

(I)

the number of scientists in agriculture and related fields in the United States; and

(II)

how many additional scientists in agriculture and related fields are needed to meet the purposes of this Act; and

(ii)

generate and maintain data that may assist the Director and the Council in planning appropriate Institute fellowship and training programs.

(4)

Additional offices

The Director may establish such additional offices within the Institute as the Director or the Council determines to be necessary to carry out the duties of the Institute under this Act.

6.

Duties

(a)

In general

The Institute shall provide competitive, peer-reviewed grants in accordance with section 8(b) to support and promote the highest quality of fundamental agricultural research and science, including grants to fund research proposals submitted by—

(1)

individual scientists;

(2)

research centers composed of a single institution or multiple institutions; and

(3)

other individuals and entities from the private and public sectors, including researchers of the Department and other Federal agencies.

(b)

Report to Congress

Not later than December 31, 2007, and biennially thereafter, the Institute shall submit to the Secretary, the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate, and the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives a comprehensive report that describes the research funded and other activities carried out by the Institute during the period covered by the report.

7.

Powers

(a)

In general

The Institute shall have such authority as is necessary to carry out this Act, including the authority—

(1)

to promulgate such regulations as the Institute considers to be necessary for governance of operations, organization, and personnel;

(2)

to make such expenditures as are necessary to carry out this Act;

(3)

to enter into contracts or other arrangements, or modifications of contracts or other arrangements—

(A)

to provide for the conduct, by organizations or individuals in the United States (including other agencies of the Department, Federal agencies, and agencies of foreign countries), of such fundamental agricultural research and science, or related activities as the Institute considers to be necessary to carry out this Act; and

(B)

at the request of the Secretary, for the conduct of such specific fundamental agricultural research and science as is in the national interest or is otherwise of critical importance, as determined by the Secretary, with the concurrence of the Institute;

(4)

to make advance, progress, and other payments relating to research and scientific activities without regard to subsections (a) and (b) of section 3324 of title 31, United States Code;

(5)

to acquire by purchase, lease, loan, gift, or condemnation, and to hold and dispose of by grant, sale, lease, or loan, real and personal property of all kinds necessary for, or resulting from, the exercise of authority under this Act;

(6)

to receive and use donated funds, if the funds are donated without restriction other than that the funds be used in furtherance of 1 or more of the purposes of the Institute;

(7)

to publish or arrange for the publication of research and scientific information to further the full dissemination of information of scientific value consistent with the national interest, without regard to section 501 of title 44, United States Code;

(8)
(A)

to accept and use the services of voluntary and uncompensated personnel; and

(B)

to provide such transportation and subsistence as are authorized by section 5703 of title 5, United States Code, for individuals serving without compensation;

(9)

to prescribe, with the approval of the Comptroller General of the United States, the extent to which vouchers for funds expended under contracts for scientific or engineering research shall be subject to itemization or substantiation prior to payment, without regard to the limitations of other laws relating to the expenditure and accounting of public funds;

(10)

to arrange with and reimburse the Secretary, and the heads of other Federal agencies, for the performance of any activity that the Institute is authorized to conduct; and

(11)

to enter into contracts, at the request of the Secretary, for the carrying out of such specific agricultural research as is in the national interest or otherwise of critical importance, as determined by the Secretary, with the consent of the Institute.

(b)

Transfer of research funds of other departments or agencies

If the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry of the Senate, the Committee on Agriculture of the House of Representatives, and any other Committees of jurisdiction are notified not less than 30 days in advance of any transfer, funds available to the Secretary, or any other department or agency of the Federal Government, for agricultural or scientific research shall be—

(1)

available for transfer, with the approval of the Secretary or the head of the other appropriate department or agency involved, in whole or in part, to the Institute for use in providing grants in accordance with the purposes for which the funds were made available; and

(2)

if so transferred, expendable by the Institute for those purposes.

(c)

Restriction on activities

The Institute—

(1)

shall be a grant-making entity only; and

(2)

shall not—

(A)

conduct fundamental agricultural research or research relating to fundamental science; or

(B)

operate any laboratory or pilot facility.

8.

Budget considerations

(a)

Budgetary management goals

The Director, in coordination with the Secretary, shall manage the budget of the Institute to achieve the goals of—

(1)

providing sufficient funds over a period of time to achieve the purposes of this Act;

(2)

fostering outstanding scientific talent, and directing that talent toward work on issues relating to agriculture; and

(3)

adequately reimbursing grant-receiving institutions for costs to encourage the pursuit of fundamental agricultural research and science.

(b)

Budgetary guidelines for grants

(1)

In general

To achieve the goals described in subsection (a), the Institute shall, to the maximum extent practicable, ensure that grants awarded for each fiscal year comply with the guidelines described in paragraphs (2) and (3).

(2)

Project grants

With respect to project grants, to the maximum extent practicable—

(A)

the Institute shall award approximately 1,000 new project grants annually;

(B)

the average project grant amount, including overhead, shall be approximately $225,000 for each fiscal year, as adjusted in accordance with the Consumer Price Index for all-urban consumers, United States city average, as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics;

(C)

a project grant shall be provided for a maximum period of 5 years, with an average award duration of 3.5 years;

(D)

the Institute shall require the recipients of a project grant to submit appropriate reports on research carried out using funds from the project grant; and

(E)

the Institute shall provide such number of training project grants as the Director or the Institute determines to be appropriate.

(3)

Multidisciplinary grants

With respect to multidisciplinary grants, to the maximum extent practicable—

(A)

for each of fiscal years 2007 through 2010, the Institute shall provide 10 multidisciplinary grants;

(B)

for fiscal year 2011 and subsequent fiscal years, the Institute shall provide multidisciplinary grants to fund not fewer than 40 research centers, on the conditions that—

(i)

sufficient funds are available; and

(ii)

a sufficient number of qualified research proposals are received;

(C)

the research centers provided multidisciplinary grants may be composed of a single institution or multiple institutions;

(D)

the average multidisciplinary grant amount, including overhead, shall be approximately $3,000,000 for each fiscal year, as adjusted in accordance with the Consumer Price Index for all-urban consumers, United States city average, as published by the Bureau of Labor Statistics;

(E)

a multidisciplinary grant shall be provided for a maximum period of 5 years;

(F)

in the aggregate, multidisciplinary grants provided under this paragraph for a fiscal year shall represent approximately 15 percent of the total grants provided by the Institute for the fiscal year, on the condition that a sufficient number of qualified research proposals are received for the fiscal year; and

(G)

merit review of the research proposal relating to the multidisciplinary grant is conducted to ensure, to the maximum extent practicable, that only quality research proposals are funded.

(c)

Indirect costs

As part of a project grant or multidisciplinary grant provided under this Act, the Institute shall pay indirect costs of conducting research, including the costs of overhead, to the recipient of the grant at a rate that is not less than any standard negotiated rate applicable to similar grants made by the National Institutes of Health or the National Science Foundation, as of the date of enactment of this Act, as determined by the Secretary.

9.

Funding

(a)

Authorization

The following funds, facilities, and authorities of the Commodity Credit Corporation are authorized to be used to carry out this Act:

(1)

For fiscal year 2007, $245,000,000 for project grants, of which not more than $20,000,000 shall be made available for administrative expenses incurred by the Institute.

(2)

For fiscal year 2008, $515,000,000, of which—

(A)

not less than $450,000,000 shall be made available for project grants;

(B)

not less than $30,000,000 shall be made available for multidisciplinary grants; and

(C)

not more than $35,000,000 shall be available for administrative expenses incurred by the Institute.

(3)

For fiscal year 2009, $780,000,000, of which—

(A)

not less than $675,000,000 shall be made available for project grants;

(B)

not less than $60,000,000 shall be made available for multidisciplinary grants; and

(C)

not more than $45,000,000 shall be made available for administrative expenses incurred by the Institute.

(4)

For fiscal year 2010, $935,000,000, of which—

(A)

not less than $800,000,000 shall be made available for project grants;

(B)

not less than $90,000,000 shall be made available for multidisciplinary grants; and

(C)

not more than $45,000,000 shall be made available for administrative expenses incurred by the Institute.

(5)

For fiscal year 2011 and each fiscal year thereafter, $966,000,000, of which—

(A)

not less than $800,000,000 shall be made available for project grants;

(B)

not less than $120,000,000 shall be made available for multidisciplinary grants; and

(C)

not more than $46,000,000 shall be made available for administrative expenses incurred by the Institute.

(b)

Limitation

For fiscal year 2011 and each subsequent fiscal year, administrative expenses paid by the Institute shall not exceed 5 percent of the total expenditures of the Institute for the fiscal year.