June 10 - The House Appropriations Committee has released the fiscal year 2014 Agriculture Appropriations bill, which will be considered in subcommittee tomorrow. The proposed legislation funds important agricultural and food programs and services, including food safety, animal and plant health programs, rural development and farm services, marketplace oversight, and nutrition programs.
The bill totals $19.5 billion in discretionary funding, which is $1.3 billion below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level and approximately equal to the current level caused by automatic sequestration spending cuts. This total is $516 million below the President’s request for these programs.
“We rely on American farmers and ranchers to provide us with the food and products we need every day. This bill will fund critical agricultural programs to support our farmers and ranchers, ensure the safety and sustainability of our food and drug supply, and offer some needed help to families who are facing the dangers of hunger. And we do all of this while keeping a tight hold on spending and trimming unnecessary funds to make the most of every tax dollar,” House Appropriations Chairman Hal Rogers said.
“America’s farmers, ranchers and producers are vital to our nation’s economy and are the most competitive in the world. They create jobs in our communities, produce food for our tables, export products around the globe and diversify our nation’s energy supply,” Subcommittee Chairman Robert Aderholt said. “The funding in this bill will help keep America’s agricultural research cutting-edge, maintain vibrant rural communities, provide nutrition to those most vulnerable, and keep our markets competitive while maintaining the safest food and drug supply in the world. At the same time, this bill honors our commitment to be good stewards of taxpayers’ limited dollars.”
The agencies and programs in this bill will receive a total of $139.4 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding – $2.6 billion below the President’s request and $52 million below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level.
The programs funded in this bill, including agriculture production, promotion, research and marketing, will help build on the estimated $139.5 billion in U.S. agricultural exports this year – the highest level on record. These exports support more than one million American jobs and are essential to the nation’s continued economic growth.
Agricultural Research – The bill provides $2.5 billion for agriculture research programs, including the Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. This is approximately equal to the fiscal year 2013 enacted funding level. This funding will support research to help stop and mitigate devastating crop diseases and improve food safety and water quality. The bill also maintains responsible investments in the nation’s land-grant colleges and universities.
Animal and Plant Health – The legislation includes $803.5 million – approximately equal to the fiscal year 2013 enacted level – for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. This funding will provide support for programs to help control or eradicate plant and animal pests and diseases that can be crippling to U.S. producers and entire agricultural industries.
Conservation Programs – The bill provides $823 million – $2.3 million below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level – for the Natural Resources Conservation Service to help farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners conserve and protect their land. This includes $12 million in conservation funding for dam rehabilitation to help small communities ensure their small watershed projects meet current safety standards.
Farm Service Agency – The legislation provides $1.5 billion for FSA, which is equal to the fiscal year 2013 enacted level. This funding will support the various farm, conservation, loan and emergency programs for American farmers and ranchers.
Rural Development – The bill provides a total of $2.2 billion for rural development programs, which is equal to the fiscal year 2013 enacted level. These programs help create an environment for economic growth by supporting basic rural infrastructure, providing loans to increase opportunities for rural businesses and industries, and helping balance the playing field in local rural housing markets.
Food Safety and Inspection Service – The legislation includes $999 million for food safety and inspection programs – which is $31 million below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level. These mandatory inspection activities help ensure the safety and productivity of the country’s $832 billion meat and poultry industry, and keep safe, healthy food on American tables. The funding provided will maintain more than 8,000 frontline inspection personnel for meat, poultry, and egg products at more than 6,200 facilities across the country.
Food and Drug Administration – The FDA receives a total of almost $2.5 billion in discretionary funding in the bill, an increase of $24 million above the fiscal year 2013 enacted level. Total funding for the FDA, including revenue from user fees, is $4.3 billion. Within this total, food safety activities are increased by $27 million, and drug safety activities are increased by $2.5 million.
Commodity Futures Trading Commission – Included in the bill is $195 million for the CFTC, the agency’s current operating level, which is a cut of $10 million below the fiscal year 2013 enacted level and $120 million below the President’s budget request.
Food and Nutrition Programs – The legislation contains discretionary funding, as well as mandatory funding required by law, for food and nutrition programs within the Department of Agriculture. This includes funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, and the Child Nutrition programs.
For the text of the subcommittee draft bill please visit: http://appropriations.house.gov/UploadedFiles/BILLS-113HR-SC-AP-FY2014-Agriculture-SubcommitteeDraft.pdf.