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Dorgan: Subcommittee restores funding to Human Nutrition Research Center

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., announced Wednesday that the Senate's subcommittee on agriculture appropriations restored funding for the Human Nutrition Research Center at UND.

Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., announced Wednesday that the Senate's subcommittee on agriculture appropriations restored funding for the Human Nutrition Research Center at UND.

The Bush administration's proposed budget for the U.S. Department of Agriculture next year had included plans to shut down the lab and move its research to USDA nutrition research centers in Beltsville, Md., and Davis, Calif., to save money.

Dorgan, as well as Sen. Kent Conrad and Rep. Earl Pomeroy, both D-N.D., had argued that research at the "nut lab" focused on one of America's biggest health problems, obesity, and that moving the work to either coast would end up costing taxpayers more in the end.

The funding provision is for $10.3 million, slightly more than the current spending level for the lab.

The Senate's full committee on ag spending will no doubt approve today the full bill that includes the lab funding, Dorgan said. But he said the work of the subcommittee, on which he sits, in getting the funding restored was the most important step in the process.

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It will be months before the House and Senate work out in conference the final spending bill for the Agriculture Department, but Dorgan said he will be on the conference and is confident that the federal nut lab will continue its three decades of work on UND's campus.

The center employees about 94 people, 55 of them federal and 39 state employees contracted through UND and paid with federal dollars.

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