Cotton producers are among the “winners” in today’s release of the FY18 Agriculture Appropriations bill approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee today (July 20, 2017).
The bill officially designated cotton as an “other oilseed” under Title I of the 2014 Farm Bill. This would allow cotton producers to participate in the Price Loss Coverage (PLC) program, just like all other major U.S. commodity producers.
The bill provides $145.4 billion in discretionary and mandatory funding, $4.85 billion above the President’s budget request and $7.9 billion below the FY2017 enacted level. It contains $20.525 billion in discretionary funding, $352 million below the FY2017 enacted level, and includes $124.9 billion in mandatory funding. It was approved 31-0.
Other Highlights of the Appropriations Bill for include:
Agricultural Research – $2.55 billion to support agricultural research conducted by the Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. This amount includes $375 million for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, maintaining the increase provided in FY2017. Formula research funding for land-grant universities is maintained at FY2017 enacted levels. The bill also rejects proposed extramural research project terminations and laboratory closures included in the budget request.
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) – $953.2 million for APHIS, $143.2 million above the budget request and $7 million above the FY2017 enacted level. Overall funding will continue programs to control or eradicate plant and animal pests and diseases that threaten U.S. agriculture production. The bill maintains investments included in FY2017 for emergency preparedness/response for disease outbreaks and workforce development for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility. Increases are provided to address wildlife damage management issues and tree pests.
Natural Resources Conservation Service – $874.1 million, $9.6 million above the FY2017 enacted level and $108.1 million over the budget request, for conservation operations to help farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners conserve and protect their land. The bill also includes $150 million for the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations program to support needed investments in rural communities.
Farm Service Agency (FSA) – $1.521 billion for FSA for various farm, conservation, and emergency loan programs important to the nation’s farmers and ranchers. It prohibits the closure of FSA county offices, and provides resources for personnel and physical security programs across county offices.
Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) – $1.038 billion, $6 million above the FY2017 enacted level and consistent with the budget request, for food safety and inspection programs that work to ensure safe, healthy food for American families. The bill promotes the safety and productivity of the nation’s $186 billion meat and poultry industry by supporting more than 8,000 frontline inspection personnel for meat, poultry, and egg products at more than 6,400 facilities in the United States. The bill provides full funding for FSIS to implement Siluriformes fish and fish product inspection.
Click here to see a complete list of items covered in the Ag Appropriations Bill.