SUMMARY: Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
Washington, D.C. – The fiscal year 2022 appropriations bill for the Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration provides discretionary funding of $25.855 billion, which is an increase of $2.5 billion over fiscal year 2021 enacted levels.
U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Chair of the Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Subcommittee, said:
“This bipartisan legislation is the product of Democrats and Republicans working together to support a stronger and more resilient agriculture economy that works for our farmers, ranchers and families in rural communities. Developed with input from my colleagues on both sides of the aisle, this bipartisan legislation will drive economic opportunities to farmers and invest in the long-term health of our working lands. It will also invest in broadband and ensure that people facing challenging times have tools to move toward nutrition, health and housing security. I am also very proud that our work together will make investments that support the Dairy Business Innovation Program, Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative, and research priorities for our dairy, specialty crop, and organic farmers. The full product of the subcommittee will help ensure that rural Americans have the tools to thrive in our global economy and build back better.”
Key Points & Highlights
The programs and activities funded in the Agriculture Appropriations bill are diverse and touch of the lives of every American. This bill provides needed increases to the Farm Service Agency to ensure our farmers and ranchers remain the most productive in the world. Important nutrition programs are increased that will give certainty to families that rely on school meals. The bill also addresses the growing hunger crisis around the world by increasing vital international feeding programs. Climate change continues to be a major challenge and this bill provides much needed increases to the Department of Agriculture to face the crisis head on. As the Food and Drug Administration continues their vital work addressing food and drug safety, the bill provides historical increases for the agency that will continue the work being done.
As the country’s farmers and ranchers continue to suffer from adverse weather events, the bill provides more than $7 billion for crop losses in 2020 and 2021 as well as additional assistance for livestock producers.
Total research funding at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is increased by $292 million over fiscal year 2021 for a total of $3.6 billion. The Agricultural Research Service is funded at $1.67 billion and includes requested funding to address climate change. The bill also fully funds the National Bio and Agro Defense Facility. The National Institute of Food and Agriculture is funded at $1.7 billion with increases for Cooperative Extensive Service, Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, Women and Minorities in STEM program, and several increases for tribal research and education.
Farm Production and Conservation:
The Farm Service Agency (FSA) is funded at $1.2 billion to allow FSA to offer better program access and outreach to minorities and historically underserved producers and beginning farmers. All FSA loan levels are maintained and an additional $7.4 million is provided to FSA to address the higher costs associated with the increased number of direct ownership loans. For the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the bill includes $918 million for Conservation Operations. The bill includes several provisions focused on the climate priorities including a $12 million increase to support climate smart agricultural practices for a total of $35 million and $8 million to support NRCS Climate Hub projects across the country. A new $15 million Working Lands Resiliency Program is created in the bill to focus on voluntary and farmer friendly climate actions on farms and ranches across the country, in partnership with the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.
The programs funded within Rural Development serve as a lifeline for many communities in rural America through housing, community facilities, infrastructure and electric programs, and small business programs. The Rural Housing Service gives families and individuals the opportunity to own their own homes and provides assistance to the elderly, disabled, and low income families. Single Family Homeownership Loans are increased by $6.25 billion, totaling over $30 billion. These loans will help more than 180,000 rural Americans purchase their own home, many for the first time. Rental Assistance is increased by $40 million for total funding of $1.45 billion. This program is as important as ever as the economy continues to recover, and the increase provided in this bill will ensure 252,000 low-income families are not rent burdened.
Many communities in rural America lack basic infrastructure such as water and sewer systems and access to clean drinking water. The bill provides $665 million for water and wastewater disposal grants, an increase of $44 million as compared to fiscal year 2021. This funding is expected to fund 700 grants to ensure communities have reliable drinking water systems, and sanitary and solid waste disposal.
The bill also provides increases to Rural Development’s energy programs to help rural America transition to renewable energy. The bill increases the electric loan program by $1 billion for a total of $6.5 billion to help rural electric cooperatives transition their power plants to a clean energy source. On the consumer side, the bill provides $22 million in grants and $20 million in loans for the Rural Energy for America Program to help farmers and small businesses purchases renewable energy systems, such as solar arrays and anaerobic digesters. Finally, the bill increases the Rural Energy Savings Program by $100 million for a total of $208 million to help rural Americans purchase energy efficient appliances and weatherize their homes, reducing their energy demand and monthly expenses.
The ReConnect broadband program is funded at $700 million. The program will expand access to high-speed broadband to remote unserved and under-served rural areas. This is especially important as our country continues to navigate the pandemic and when many families continue to rely on broadband for work and school.
All nutrition programs are fully funded to support expected participation. The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children is funded at $6.278 billion. This will support 6.4 million participants per month. Funding for SNAP has decreased from last year but will support all people who qualify. The Commodity Supplemental Food Program is funded at $332 million. The elderly population continues to grow and this program will provide vital nutrition to vulnerable seniors.
International Food Aid:
With 41 million people across the world facing life-threatening hunger, important food aid programs are increased. The Food for Peace and McGovern-Dole Food for Education programs are increased by $35 million for a total of $2 billion. With this funding the United States will continue to be the leader in addressing world hunger.
Food and Drug Administration:
Total funding for FDA is $3.414 billion, an increase of $200 million over fiscal year 2021. The bill focuses on increases for food safety and medical product safety activities of the agency. An increase of $14 million is included for maternal and infant health to work on toxic elements in baby food. To continue the work the agency is doing to address the opioid crisis, the bill includes an increase of $24 million for International Mail Facilities for a total of $62 million. Millions of illegal products, including opioids, enter these facilities from countries all over the world. FDA is on the front lines to ensure these products do not make it into commerce and these additional funds will allow FDA to continue this important work. Information technology continues to be a priority for the agency and the bill includes an increase of $25 million. Finally, an increase of $15 million is included to enhance inspections of facilities under FDA’s jurisdiction.
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