Posted August 27, 2013

Members of both houses of Congress recently introduced new legislation, the Charitable Agricultural Research Act (CARA).  According to an article by AgChallenge 2050, the legislation is a result of a close working relationship among Republicans and Democrats in both the House and the Senate. 
On July 11, Senate Agriculture Committee Chairwoman Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) introduced the bipartisan, bicameral legislation which is supported by a many co-sponsors representing a range of geographic regions and different constituencies.  The text of the Senate bill, S. 1280, is available here.  The text of the House bill, H.R. 2671 is available here. 
The CARA amends the U.S. Tax Code to allow for the creation of new 501(c)(3) agricultural research organizations.  Organizations which are “directly engaged in the continuous active conduct of agricultural research” in “conjunction with a land-grant college or university” or “a non-land grant college of agriculture” would be eligible for 501(c)(3) status.
This model is similar to medical research organizations, added to the tax code in the mid-1950s to enhance human medical research.  Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said: “In the current tight budget environment Congress needs to enact innovation legislation, such as this bill, which will encourage private donors to help meet shortfalls in agricultural research.”