July 29, 2021

Washington Roundup – July 2021

FY 22 Agriculture Appropriations Bill Approved by Full Appropriations Committee 

On June 30th, the House Appropriations Committee approved its version of agriculture appropriations for fiscal year 2022. The agriculture appropriations bill provides discretionary funding of $26.55 billion, which is $2.851 billion above 2021.  The Committee also released the accompanying report that includes detailed funding levels for individual USDA programs.  

According to the Committee, the bill provides $3.391 billion for agriculture research programs, which is $321 million above the FY 2021 enacted level. This funding includes important research investments in the intramural programs conducted by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and external programs administered by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) that support U.S. land-grant colleges and universities, including an increase for the 1890 institutions, capacity programs and the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).

Below is a summary of key accounts:

ACCOUNT                                     FY2021 FINAL                        FY 2022 House 

ARS Salaries and Expenses        $1.491 billion                           $1.637 billion

ARS Buildings and Facilities       $35.7 million                           $126.5 million

Hatch                                            $259 million                            $265 million

AFRI                                              $435 million                             $450 million

Sec. 1433                                      $4 million                                 $4 million

Smith Lever                                  $315 million                             $320 million

Genome to Phenome                  $1 million                                 $2 million

Democratic leadership in the House has announced plans to package the Agriculture, Energy-Water, Financial Services, Interior-Environment, Labor-HHS-Education, Military Construction-VA and Transportation-HUD measures in one bundle for consideration by the full House of Representatives.  It is expected that the House will begin consideration of the package the week of July 26th.  The Senate has yet to announce its schedule for action on its version of the agriculture appropriations bill.

University Leaders Pen Editorial in Support of Agriculture Research Investments

On July 19th, Agri-Pulse, a popular agriculture news outlet in Washington, DC, published an editorial article entitled: “Significant federal investment in food and agriculture research and development is long overdue.”  The article was written by Dr. Ronnie Green, Chancellor of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Dr. Rebecca Blank, Chancellor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Green and Blank argue that the success of the food and agriculture sectors is built on a strong foundation of agriculture research and development (R&D) investments.  They cite a recent study that found U.S. public food and agriculture R&D spending from 1910 to 2007 returned, on average, $17 in benefits for every $1 invested. Increasing agricultural R&D funding, both in-house at USDA and through external collaborative agriculture research and capacity-building at universities will give farmers, ranchers, producers, and foresters the tools they need to improve resiliency and scale up climate-smart agriculture.  The authors call on the House and Senate to provide robust investments in agricultural research through the fiscal year 2022 appropriations process, as well as through the infrastructure packages currently being considered by Congress.

NIFA Announces Animal Disease Research Investments

On July 7th, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced an investment of $14 million in research to protect agricultural animals from disease. The grants are part of NIFA’s Agriculture and Food Research Initiative’s Diseases of Agricultural Animals program area priority.

“Animal health is critically important to farmers and ranchers,” said NIFA director Dr. Carrie Castille. “This research will help better understand, diagnose, control and prevent diseases in agricultural animals and aquaculture.”

Funded projects will focus on developing new and improved vaccines, diagnostics and antimicrobial alternatives; breeding disease resistant animals; and understanding better ways to manage animals to minimize disease outbreaks.