The Senate Appropriations Committee recently released all twelve of its Fiscal Year 2021 (FY21) funding measures and the FY21 subcommittee allocations. For Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and other related agencies, the committee recommended $23.3 billion in total funding.
Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chair John Hoeven, a North Dakota Republican, says the Senate version of the fiscal year 2021 Ag appropriations Bill fully funds farm loan programs and supports rural innovation.
“As Chair of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, we’ve worked to put together a strong agriculture funding bill that provides our farmers and ranchers with the support they need during these challenging times.” said Hoeven.
Among the many provisions in the bill, the legislation will maintain support for crop insurance and other farm bill programs. It will also increase funding for farm direct, guaranteed, and emergency loans to meet the expected demand.
However, Senate Appropriations Committee Ranking Member Richard Shelby says he was disappointed that Republicans chose to cancel committee markups for the fiscal year 2021 bills and that the bills weren’t considered by the full Senate.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he intends to pass all appropriations bills before December 11, even though the Senate hasn’t passed a single appropriations bill yet.
While delving through some explanatory statements of several measures, I stumbled upon numerous interesting facts and recommendations the committee had made.
The first one that caught my eye was the concerns from the committee over the Department’s decision to lift the ban on Brazilian raw beef imports. They directed FSIS to provide a report to the Committee no later than 120 days after enactment of this Act with strategies the agency is using to ensure that imports are meeting the set standards.
Also included in the FY21 funding recommendations was an increase of $14 million to the Wild Horse and Burro Program which will support an aggressive, non-lethal population control strategy to address the current unsustainable trajectory of on-range wild horse and burro population growth.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration was also prohibited by the funding measures to enforce the electronic logging device rule with respect to carriers transporting livestock or insects. This verbiage is a repeat from the previous two years.
Listed below are the highlights of measures for Agriculture, Rural Development, FDA and other related agencies:
- Agricultural Research: The bill provides more than $3.3 billion for agricultural research programs. This includes $1.51 billion for the Agricultural Research Service and $1.54 billion for National Institute of Food and Agriculture, including a $10 million increase for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI). This funding will support investments in the research and development of new technologies and varieties to improve the productivity, sustainability, and quality of American agriculture. The bill also fully funds the President’s request to support the continued establishment of the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility.
- Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service: The bill provides $1.06 billion for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS), an increase of more than $14 million above FY20 enacted levels. The funding will help protect the nation’s animal and plant resources from diseases and pests such as chronic wasting disease and Asian giant hornets.
- Food Safety and Inspection Service: The bill provides $1.07 billion for the Food Safety and Inspection Service, which fully funds the food safety and inspection programs that ensure safe and healthy food for American families. The bill promotes the safety and productivity of the nation’s $186 billion meat and poultry industry by supporting more than 8,000 frontline inspection personnel for meat, poultry, and egg products at more than 6,400 facilities in the United States.
- Farm Service Agency: The bill provides $1.434 billion for the Farm Service Agency, an increase of $20 million above FY20 enacted levels. It also prohibits the closure of FSA county offices and provides resources for IT improvements and personnel across county offices.
- Conservation Programs: The bill provides $832 million to the Natural Resources Conservation Service for Conservation Operations and $175 million for Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations.
- Rural Development: The bill provides $3.1 billion for Rural Development (RD) to support RD’s mission areas, including $400 million for the ReConnect Broadband Pilot. The bill also funds the relocation of staff from the Goodfellow Federal Center in St. Louis, MO.
- Nutrition Programs: The bill provides full funding for regular nutrition program needs for FY21. The bill includes $6 billion in discretionary funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and an increase of $18 million for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP).
- International Food Assistance: The bill provides $1.725 billion for Food for Peace Title II Grants and $220 million for the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program.
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA): The bill provides $3.21 billion in discretionary funding for the FDA, a $40 million net increase to base funding for medical products, food safety activities, and infrastructure needs. Overall, total FDA funding, including user fee revenues, is $5.88 billion. The bill also provides $70 million as authorized in the 21st Century Cures Act.
All twelve measures from the Senate Appropriations Committee total over $1.4 trillion in funding for the fiscal year 2021.
Northern Ag Network – 2020