Filemon Vela

08/20/2019 | Press release | Archived content

Reps. Cuellar, Gonzalez, and Vela Announce $1.9 Million in Federal Funding for Soil Science Collaborative Research

Reps. Cuellar, Gonzalez, and Vela Announce $1.9 Million in Federal Funding for Soil Science Collaborative Research

University of Texas Rio Grande Valley One of Fifteen Schools to Participate

Washington, D.C.-Congressmen Henry Cuellar (TX-28), Vicente Gonzalez (TX-15), and Filemon Vela (TX-34) announced $1.9 million for soil science research nationwide. The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV), through the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service, was selected as one of fifteen schools participating in the program.

The federal funds will be used to expand UTRGV's soil science research and educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, a key area for agriculture production with a 90 percent Hispanic population. UTRGV will also provide students and producers with experience that prepare them to meet the challenges and opportunities related to agricultural, food, and natural resources through participatory research, the Kika de la Garza Science Fellowship program, technical assistance, training and outreach events.

In the FY20 U.S. House Agriculture Appropriations bill, Congressman Cuellar helped secure more than $829 million for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, a $10 million increase from FY19.

'Soil health is critical for our country's food security and a sustainable future,' said Congressman Cuellar. 'As a member of the U.S. House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, I supported additional funding for agricultural research leading to innovative solutions and technological advancements for famers and students across the country. I will continue to fund these educational initiatives so we can continue to produce bountiful crops and productive grazing lands in the Rio Grande Valley. I would like to thank Congressmen Vicente Gonzalez and Filemon Vela for their dedication to South Texas agriculture. I would also like to thank UTRGV President Guy Bailey for his commitment to increasing Hispanic representation in soil sciences.'

'One of my top priorities as a Congressman is to empower students and open additional educational opportunities that might not have been previously available,' said Congressman Gonzalez. 'The Rio Grande Valley needs more skilled individuals in areas related to food, natural resources and agriculture. My hope is that with this funding we can provide students with an educational experience and research opportunities that will prepare them for the future.'

'I applaud UTRGV for their continued success as an educator and innovator to a population that has been historically underserved,' said Congressman Vela. 'As Chairman of the General Farm Commodities Subcommittee, I understand the crucial importance that soil science plays in the production and sustainability of the food we produce. This funding will provide students with a great opportunity to delve into the agricultural sciences and open doors to their futures.'

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