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Agriculture Funding Bills Advance

The Senate Appropriations Committee and the House Appropriations’ agriculture subcommittee voted last week on fiscal 2015 funding legislation for agricultural programs. The Senate bill provides for discretionary spending of nearly $20.6 billion for Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, including $100 million in disaster relief spending. The House bill has $20.9 billion in discretionary funding.

Included in the Senate bill, which is ready for action by the full Senate, is $1.139 billion for USDA’s Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and $1.292 billion for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). It would fund USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service at $876 million, including $20 million to control and eradicate feral swine and funding for research and surveillance to combat the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus (PEDV); the agency’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) would receive $1.023 billion.

The House subcommittee measure, which is expected to be taken up by the full Appropriations Committee this week, would fund ARS and NIFA with $2.65 billion and APHIS would get nearly $871 million; FSIS would get $1 billion for food safety and inspection programs. The subcommittee legislation also includes money for PEDV research, which NPPC strongly supports.

Additionally, the House bill has a provision that precludes USDA from writing, preparing or publishing a final rule or an interim final rule on certain onerous provisions of the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Act (GIPSA). Lawmakers said USDA ignored congressional intent when writing a 2010 GIPSA rule and that certain sections of the rule, such as ones defining “competitive injury” and “undue and unfair preferences” related to livestock purchase negotiations, should not be promulgated because of their economic significance. 

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