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House advances 2023 ag spending bill

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GOVERNMENT SPENDING: President Biden unveiled his $6 trillion budget to Congress on May 28 that makes additional investments in climate-smart agriculture spending and rural broadband.
Politics may get in the way of advancing the 2023 appropriations package to the President’s desk.

Reports indicate House appropriators aim to have the FY2023 funding bills on the House floor in July. Meanwhile in the evenly divided Senate, negotiations on a spending cap to govern the FY2023 appropriations process have come to a halt due to differences over total spending, investment in defense and earmarks. 

We have our first look at the ag portion of the spending bills that cleared committee. In action June 23, the full committee advanced the 2023 agricultural appropriations spending investments of $27.2 billion, a critical increase of 8.3%, more than $2 billion over 2022. The week prior the subcommittee marked up the bill.

The 2022 government spending package provided historic funding to tackle hunger, lift up rural communities, rebuild the food safety infrastructure, and support equality for historically underserved communities, explains House Appropriations Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro.

Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman Sanford Bishop, Jr., D-Ga., explains the bill also provides over $3.1 billion for farm and conservation programs. “The investments in this bill support sustainable agricultural improvements to mitigate the consequences of climate change while maintaining high levels of production,” Bishop says.

“The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition applauds the House Appropriations Committee members for voting to support robust funding for conservation operations and a significant increase in Conservation Technical Assistance that farmers and ranchers need to adopt new conservation practices that improve the sustainability and profitability of their family farms,” says Eric Deeble, NSAC policy director.

The legislation includes $1.16 billion – $52 million above the FY 2022 enacted level – for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service. This funding will support programs to help control or eradicate plant and animal pests and diseases that can be crippling to U.S. producers. The funding level provides increases that will help address harmful pests and diseases such as cotton pests, spotted lanternfly, and chronic wasting disease, and support the growing needs of animal health surveillance and veterinary biological products such as vaccines and diagnostic tests while maintaining increases from past years for citrus greening. It also provides increases in funding for chronic wasting disease, animal and horse welfare, animal health surveillance, and veterinary biological products such as vaccines and diagnostic tests.

The bill provides $244 million, $16 million above the FY 2022 enacted level and $10 million above the request, to facilitate the movement of agriculture products and open market opportunities. This includes $22.8 million for the National Organic Program to protect the integrity of the USDA Organic label and $30.2 million for the oversight and enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act.

The bill invests more than $545 million for rural broadband expansion, including $450 million for the ReConnect program. This is in addition to the $2 billion investment in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

The bill provides nearly $3.6 billion for agriculture research programs, including the Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. The bill provides a historic level of funding for agricultural research, including $500 million for The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.

“We hope that when the Senate considers appropriations later this year, that they choose to increase funding for research programs that are essential to help farmers meet the challenge of climate change induced severe weather,” Deeble adds. “Most importantly, including full funding for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program at $60 million and increases to the Organic Transitions Program (ORG) and the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI).”

The legislation contains $1.8 billion for Food for Peace grants, the highest level ever, and $265 million for the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition program, the highest level ever for that program.

TAGS: Farm Policy
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