WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement after Congress approved the Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations bill. As chairman, Hoeven worked to secure funding to support North Dakota’s producers and economy, including:
- Additional $1.5 billion for the Wildfire and Hurricane Indemnity Program Plus (WHIP+), to ensure program funding is sufficient to meet demand from producers who were impacted by natural disasters in 2018 and 2019.
- $5 million for the Rural Innovation Stronger Economy (RISE) Grant Program, which supports innovation clusters in rural regions. Hoeven also included language to prioritize projects like Grand Farm.
- Increased funding to meet demand for farm direct, guaranteed and emergency loans, which provide farmers and ranchers with access to capital.
- Strong funding for agricultural research, conducted by the Agriculture Research Service (ARS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
“The challenges of this year have brought to the forefront the sacrifices of our nation’s farmers and ranchers in providing our nation with the food, fuel and fiber to meet our needs,” said Hoeven. “As chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, my top priority is supporting our producers and providing them with the necessary tools to overcome challenges from weather to low commodity prices to the uncertainty caused by the pandemic. We worked hard to pass an agriculture funding bill that funds the farm safety net, provides access to capital and invests in our rural communities. This funding, which is in addition to our work on disaster and COVID assistance, will provide farm country with important tools to help them succeed.”
Highlights of the FY2021 Agriculture Funding Bill
Support for Farmers and Ranchers
- Maintains support for crop insurance and other farm bill programs.
- Increases funding for farm direct, guaranteed and emergency loans to meet the expected demands.
- $4 million for the Hoeven Water Bank initiative, which provides compensation for farmers and landowners for flooded land through 10-year, voluntary conservation agreements.
- $5 million for the Wetland Mitigation Banking program, providing an important resource for farmers to remain conservation compliant.
- Prohibits the closure of Farm Service Agency (FSA) county offices and provides resources for IT improvements and personnel across county offices.
- $250,000 for blackbird depredation in the Northern Great Plains through APHIS.
- Provides strong funding for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) management including:
- $7 million for APHIS CWD funding to State Wildlife and State Departments of Agriculture (an increase of $2 million).
- $2 million for APHIS to expand and collaborate on new CWD research activities, including transmission pathways and the prevention of future conflicts between humans and cervid populations.
- $4 million for APHIS’ Cervid Health Activities.
- $10 million for the Farm and Ranch Assistance Network to provide producers access to mental health support and resources.
- $3 million for Agriculture Innovation Centers that provide technical and business development assistance to agricultural producers seeking to engage in making or producing Value-Added agricultural products.
- Includes Risk Management Agency (RMA) report language regarding cover crop haying and grazing, and corn test weight.
Agriculture Research – Provides strong support for agricultural research conducted by the Agriculture Research Service (ARS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
- Maintains formula research funding for land-grant universities.
- Increases ARS funding, including:
- $1.5 million increase for Sugarbeet Research.
- $1 million for a new Barley Pest Initiative.
- $1 million increase for UAS in Precision Agriculture Applications research.
- $1 million increase for National Pulse Crop Research Programs.
- $1 million increase for the Pulse Crop Health Initiative.
- $250,000 increase for Chronic Wasting Disease research.
- Maintain funding for the U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative.
Supporting Rural America
- Provides $635 million for the ReConnect Broadband Pilot.
- Provides $5 million for RISE grants to fund job accelerators in rural areas.
- Maintains funding for the Grassroots Source Water Protection Program.
- Maintains funding for Rural Electric Guaranteed Loans, Rural Cooperative Development Grants and Rural Business Development Grants.
Office of North Dakota Senator John Hoeven