The President has signed the Agriculture Appropriations bill for FY 2012 into law.
The Agriculture agencies and programs in this bill will receive a total of $136.6 billion in both discretionary and mandatory funding, a reduction of $4.6 billion from the President’s request based on the Administration’s Mid-Session Review. Discretionary funding in the legislation totals $19.8 billion– a reduction of $350 million below last year’s level and a cut of $2.5 billion from the President’s request.
• Agricultural Research – The conference agreement provides more than $2.5 billion for agricultural research programs, including the Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. This is a reduction of $53 million from the fiscal year 2011 level. While trimming spending, this funding level will support research on critical agricultural 2 issues, including emerging crop and livestock diseases, food safety and water quality, and maintains the nation’s investment in land-grant and other agricultural colleges and universities.
• Animal and Plant Health – The bill includes $820 million – $47 million below last year’s level –for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). This funding level will continue support for programs to enhance control or eradication of plant and animal pest and diseases.
• Farm Service Agency (FSA), Salaries and Expenses – The conference agreement provides $1.2 billion for FSA Salaries and Expenses, a decrease of $9 million below the fiscal year 2011 level and $158 million below the President’s request. Of the total, the bill provides not less than $66.7 million for the continued modernization (MIDAS) of FSA’s information technology systems to streamline farm program delivery and business processes.
• Conservation Programs – The conference agreement provides $844 million for Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) programs – a reduction of $45 million below the fiscal year 2011 level. This funding includes $828 million for conservation operations to help farmers, ranchers and private forest landowners to conserve, protect and enhance their land.
• Food Safety and Inspection Service – The bill includes $1 billion for food safety and inspection programs – approximately the same as last year’s level. This funding level will continue critical meat, poultry, and egg product inspection and testing activities, expand a poultry inspection pilot
project that will lead to food safety improvements, and help address new concerns with the pathogen E. coli.
• Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – The FDA receives a total of nearly $2.5 billion in discretionary funding in the bill – $50 million above last year’s level and $234 million below the President’s request. Total funding for the FDA, including user fees, is $3.8 billion. The conference agreement provides for responsible increases in food safety as well as the advancement of medical countermeasures.
• Food and Nutrition Programs – Mandatory food and nutrition programs within the Department of Agriculture – including SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) and child nutrition – are funded at $98.6 billion – $2 billion less than the President’s request based on the Administration’s Mid-Session Review. This funding will allow all individuals and families who meet the programs’ criteria for aid to receive all the benefits available to them, and includes $3 billion in reserve funds in case of unanticipated increases in participation or food price increases.
Livestock Marketing – The bill places restrictions on the implementation of a Grain Inspection and Packers and Stockyards Administration (GIPSA) proposed rule that would have allowed harmful government interference in the private market for livestock and poultry.
• Rural Economic Development – The conference agreement provides $2.25 billion for rural development programs – $180 million below the fiscal year 2011 level. This funding includes $42.5 million to support $900 million in loan authority for the “502” direct single-family housing loan program – a program that helps low-income Americans who live in rural areas purchase
homes. In addition, the conference agreement provides $900 million for the rental assistance program to help provide affordable housing for rural low-income families and the elderly.
To help bolster rural economies, the conference agreement provides $75 million for the Business and Industry Loan Guarantee program, which will support $822 million in loan authority for rural businesses. The conference agreement also provides $513 million for rural water and waste programs, $7.7 billion in loans for the rural electric and telecommunications program, and $212 million in loans for broadband deployment in rural areas.
• Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC): The conference agreement provides $205 million for the CFTC – a reduction of $103 million below the President’s request. This funding level provides
The budget for National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), which is the Agency within U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) that helps fund research, education and extension at the state and local levels, remained largely intact. www.land-grant.org/NIFA_final.pdf )
NIFA appropriation for FY 2012 is $1.202 billion and includes:
$9 million for Graduate Fellowship Grants, Institution Challenge Grants, and the Multicultural Scholars Program
$14 million for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program
$5 million for basic USDA data collection on the organic sector. Organic Data Initiative
$15 million for the National Organic Program
$4 million for National Organic Cost-Share; Modifies program to provide cost-share assistance for organic certification to new and beginning organic farmers. This program will provide up to 75% of the cost of certification, but no more than $750.
$80 million over 10 years for the Organic Research Initiative.
National Science Foundation (NSF) – The legislation funds NSF at $7 billion, which is $173 million above last year’s level and $734 million below the President’s request. Within this funding, NSF’s core research program is increased by $155 million to enhance basic research critical to innovation and U.S. economic competitiveness.