Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, outlined key provisions in the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, which was approved this week by the Senate Appropriations Committee and now goes to the full Senate for consideration.
“Given the challenges in farm country, providing strong funding to support our farmers, ranchers and rural America is more important now than ever,” said Senator Hoeven. “We worked hard to ensure that the FY2020 agriculture funding bill helps our producers remain at the forefront of production agriculture and provides our rural communities the ability to compete – both at home and abroad.”
Support for Farmers and Ranchers
- Maintains support for crop insurance and other farm bill programs and provides an additional $35 million for the Farm Service Agency (FSA) to implement the 2018 Farm Bill.
- Fully funds the expected demand for farm direct, guaranteed and emergency loans.
- Provides $4 million for the Hoeven Water Bank initiative, which provides compensation for farmers and landowners for flooded land through 10-year, voluntary conservation agreements.
- Includes $5 million for the Wetland Mitigation Banking program, providing an important resource for farmers to remain conservation compliant.
- Prohibits the closure of FSA county offices and provides resources for IT improvements and personnel across county offices.
- Provides no less than $250,000 in Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) funding to reduce blackbird depredation in the Northern Great Plains.
- Includes an additional $5 million for Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) management.
- Includes $3 million for the Farm and Ranch Assistance Network to provide producers access to mental health support and resources.
Agriculture Research – Provides $3.172 billion, an increase of $135.8 million, to support agricultural research conducted by the Agriculture Research Service (ARS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) including:
- Maintains formula research funding for land-grant universities.
- Increases ARS funding including: $7 million for the development of a National Predictive Modeling Tool, $5.5 million increase for the U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative, and $1 million increases for Chronic Wasting Disease Research, Pulse Crop Health Initiative, Healthy Soils Initiative, Sugar Beet Research, Alfalfa Research, Potato Research, Small Grain Genomics, as well as providing $1 million for additional pulse crop research.
- Provides $3 million in funding for UAS Precision Agriculture research and application.
- Includes an increase of $10 million for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).
Supporting Rural America
- Provides $5 million for the newly authorized Rural Development RISE grants to help struggling communities by funding job accelerators in low-income, rural areas.
- Maintains funding for the Grassroots Source Water Protection Program.
- Provides an increase of $25 million for NRCS Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations (WFPO).
- Maintains loan and grant levels funding for Rural Utilities Services water, electric and telecommunications programs.