Both the House and Senate approved the agriculture appropriations conference report this week, making it the second funding bill to go to President Barack Obama for his signature.
The House approved the final, conferenced bill on Wednesday by a 263 to 162 vote, while the Senate approved the bill Thursday by a 76 to 22 vote.
The bill is worth a total of $121.3 billion, 10.5 percent more than last year.
More than 80 percent of the bill’s funding goes to mandatory programs like Title I safety net programs and nutrition programs. Almost 80 percent of the FY2010 mandatory funding will go to three nutrition programs: the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program, or food stamps, the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program and school nutrition programs.
The bill provides important funding for agricultural research, including $1.25 billion for the Agricultural Research Service and $262.482 million for competitive grants through USDA’s new Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, 30 percent more than competitive grants received in the 2009 fiscal year.
The final bill also provides $1 million for Ug99 research and restores several projects like the Cereal Disease Laboratory in St. Paul, Minn., that were proposed for elimination in the Obama Administration budget.
A few of the Congressionally-directed projects, or earmarks, included in the bill of particular interest to NAWG member-states include the following items:
- Cereal Disease Laboratory, St. Paul, Minn., $290,000
- Northern Great Plains Research Laboratory, Mandan, N.D., $543,000
- Buildings and facilities expenses for the ARS laboratory in Pullman, Wash., $3.74 million
- Wheat genetic research, Kansas, $1 million
- Biomass crop production project, Brookings, S.D., $1.25 million
- Aegilops cylindrica research, Washington state, $245,000
- Expanded wheat pasture research, Oklahoma, $223,000
- Perennial wheat research, Washington state, $98,000
- Russian wheat aphid research, Colorado, $250,000
- Steep IV water quality project in the Northwest, $444,000
- Water conservation research, Kansas, $500,000
- Food and Agriculture Policy Research Institute, $1.339 million
The bill also provides:
- $1 billion in funding for conservation programs through the Natural Resources Conservation Service;
- $1.89 billion for food aid programs – $564 million above FY2009 – including $1.69 billion for PL-480, Title II and $209.5 for the McGovern-Dole program;
- $2.979 billion for rural development programs, $246 million above FY2009;
- $2.36 billion for the Food and Drug Administration, $306 million above FY2009, and $1.02 billion for the Food Safety and Inspection Service, $47 million above FY2009; and
- $168.8 million for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, $22.8 million above FY2009.
Much more about the final agriculture appropriations agreement, including a bill summary and full bill text, is available through the House Appropriations Committee’s Web site at http://appropriations.house.gov/Subcommittees/sub_ardf.shtml.