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Agricultural News


FY 2021 House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Bill Finally Gives Farmers Hope

Mon, 13 Jul 2020 07:46:44 CDT

FY 2021 House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Bill Finally Gives Farmers Hope After months of delay, the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee marked-up its fiscal year (FY) 2021 Agriculture Appropriations bill to advance funding for food and agricultural programs. The House bill provides a total of $23.98 billion in discretionary funding, a modest increase of 2 percent ($487 million) above the FY 2020 enacted level.

The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) commends appropriators for comprehensive funding of programs at levels that meet or exceed the priorities of the sustainable agriculture community for FY 2021, and avoid harmful changes in mandatory program spending (CHIMPS).

"During a time that is dominated by sobering headlines about agriculture, hunger and the pandemic, earlier this week farmers, ranchers, and agriculture organizations received some good news—for once." said Wes King, Senior Policy Specialist. "Chairman Bishop and Ranking Member Fortenberry have delivered on the kind of strategic investments for which NSAC and our members have been advocating for and for which farmers have been clamoring."

While NSAC is generally pleased by the distribution of funding, one significant disappointment in this bill is the slow rate of increase in discretionary funding for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. Funding for SARE increased by $2 million to reach a total of $39 million, but still falls $11 million short of NSAC’s $50 million request for FY 2021. SARE is the nation’s only farmer-driven research program and has been a center of innovation in research and agriculture for over thirty years. NSAC will continue to advocate for this critical program with our Congressional allies.

Funding levels in the FY 2021 House Agriculture appropriations bill for NSAC priority programs are as follows:

Farming Opportunity Training and Outreach Program (FOTO): $5 million for FOTO assumed to be split evenly between the Outreach and Assistance to Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers (Section 2501) and the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP)
Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program (SARE): $39 million
Food Safety Outreach Program (FSOP): $10 million
Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP): $20 million for LAMP split between the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) , receiving $8 million, and the Value Added Producer Grant Program (VAPG), receiving $12 million.

NSAC was also pleased that provisions from Congresswoman Pingree’s Agriculture Resilience Act (ARA) were included in the report that accompanies the House Agriculture Appropriations bill, including establishing a Soil Health and Greenhouse Gas Subcommittee under the National Agriculture Research, Education, Extension, and Economics Advisory Board, appropriating additional funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Climate Hubs, and directing the Economic Research Service (ERS) to conduct studies on the benefits of conservation and soil health practices and the long-term economic impacts of integrating livestock into cover cropping systems.

Finally, NSAC commends the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee for their continued commitment to understand the impacts of the relocation of ERS and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and to the restoration of the capacity of both organizations.

A FY 2021 appropriations chart and detailed breakdown of the bill is available here.

The FY 2021 Agricultural Appropriations bill summary is available here.


   

 

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