Congress' Spending Bill Funds Ag Programs at Levels Higher Than FY13

Congress' Spending Bill Funds Ag Programs at Levels Higher Than FY13

Agriculture programs see a $350 million boost in funding for fiscal year 2014

Chief negotiators on the $1 trillion omnibus spending bill reached an agreement late Monday night, unveiling language that would fund the government until Sept. 30.

Under the bill, which both the House and the Senate are expected to consider later this week, FY 2014 discretionary spending for agriculture is just under $20.9 million – $350 million more than enacted for FY13.

The funding will cover food and nutrition programs, the Food Safety and Inspection Service and agricultural research, among other things. It also includes funding for the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration.

Agriculture programs see a $350 million boost in funding for fiscal year 2014

According to a summary provided by the House Appropriations Committee, the funding still cuts back lower-priority programs and rescinds unused funds. Specific appropriations include:

Agricultural Research. The bill provides $2.6 billion for agriculture research programs, including the Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The bill also "maintains responsible investments in the nation’s land-grant colleges and universities," the summary notes.

Farm Service Agency & Rural Development. FSA gets $1.5 billion and $5.5 billion for loan authorizations; RD programs will receive $180 million more than in FY13, at $2.4 billion.

Animal and Plant Health. The legislation includes $821.7 million for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. APHIS also gets an extra $20 million to fight citrus greening.

Food Safety and Inspection. FSIS gets $1 billion, down by more than $19 billion when compared to last year. Funding will maintain inspection personnel at more than 6,200 U.S. processing facilities.

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Food and Drug Administration. The FDA receives a total of almost $2.6 billion in discretionary funding in the bill, an increase of $91 million above the fiscal year 2013 enacted level. Total funding for the FDA, including revenue from user fees, is $4.4 billion.

Commodity Futures Trading Commission. CFTC will get $215 million – $100 million below the President's budget request.

Conservation Programs: The bill provides $826 million for the Natural Resources Conservation Service – virtually the same as the fiscal year 2013 enacted level.

Food and Nutrition Programs. About $108 billion will go to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Child Nutrition programs. Another $1.47 billion is allocated for the Food for Peace grants and $185.1 million to the McGovern-Dole International Food Program.

The bill also includes a few other notable additions, such as language from Sen. Mike Johanns, R-Neb., that clarifies a legal provision prohibiting the Occupational Safety and Health Administration from regulating farms with fewer than 10 employees.

Johanns late last month raised concerns with OSHA's regulation of on-farm grain storage. The new language says OSHA should work with the USDA before moving forward with attempts to redefine and regulate "post-harvest activities, to include, but not limited to, storing, drying, grinding, and other activities necessary to market farm products to subsequent users in the agricultural value chain."

The bill's language also eliminates funding for USDA inspectors at horse slaughterhouses. Without USDA inspectors, slaughterhouses would not be able to operate in the U.S. legally.

TAGS: Regulatory
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