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FNRI receives historic $1 million in funding

The Floriculture and Nursery Research Initiative has received $1 million in funding through the omnibus spending bill approved by Congress and singed into law by President Trump, according to a press release.

This number represents the largest single increase in almost 20 years for FNRI, which plays a critical role in generating scientific research on high-priority issues that affect all segments of the industry — including post-harvest technology, water quality, and pest and disease management.

SAF CAD-1Brian Wheat, chief executive officer at Lafayette Florist, Gift Shop and Garden Center in Lafayette, CO, and fellow members of SAF’s delegation at Congressional Action Days talk with Sen. Cory Gardner (R) in March. Those personal interactions at CAD helped lead to FNRI funding increases.The increase comes just two weeks after more than 90 Society of American Florists members went to Capitol Hill for Congressional Action Days to ask their lawmakers to increase Initiative funding.

“This is very big news,” said Shawn McBurney in the release, SAF’s senior director of government relations, who called the seven-digit figure “a testament to the effectiveness of SAF members becoming directly involved in working with their members of Congress. Their work is a big reason Congress specifically wrote that floriculture would receive a funding increase in its bill, where many other industries weren’t mentioned.”

The support for additional floral research funding through FNRI “demonstrates the need for floriculture research and recognition of the value of the floral industry to the agricultural economy,” said Terril Nell, Ph.D., in the release.

Nell has long been committed to FNRI, which funds research, conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and university scientists, focused on addressing and solving the industry’s issues and needs.

During CAD this year, he presented an overview of FNRI and how it has benefited the industry, along with the general public, by bringing some of the top academics and researchers to work on the industry’s biggest challenges.

That message resonated with SAF members and the lawmakers they met with during CAD.

“Our industry researchers will put this money to good use exploring ways to make the flowers and plants we sell better,” said Rodney Crittenden in the release, chief executive officer and executive vice president at the Michigan Floral Association and Wisconsin & Upper Michigan Florists Association.

“This proves our time spent in Washington, D.C. is not wasted and our requests do not fall upon deaf ears. Our collective voices do make a difference.”