The fiscal year (FY) 2011 continuing resolution negotiated last week includes $1.5 billion in reductions to various agriculture programs, but maintains the current farm bill safety net provisions for producers.  The bill provides $19.965 billion in discretionary funding for the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Rural Development, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and related agencies -- a 14 percent decrease from the FY 2010 level.

The bill continues full funding for both the Market Access Program and Foreign Market Development Program at their authorized levels.

The specific reductions include: $119 million from the Wetland Reserve Program; $39 million from the Conservation Stewardship Program; $80 million from the Environmental Quality Incentives Program; and $134 million from the Biomass Crop Assistance Program.  Some key program funding levels are $1.5 billion for PL480 Title II, an 11 percent reduction from FY 2010 and $199.5 million for McGovern-Dole Food for Education, a 5 percent reduction from FY 2010. 

For agricultural research, the bill provides $2.353 billion for the National Institute on Food and Agriculture and the Agricultural Research Service, down 7 percent from FY 2010.  This reduction is largely due to the elimination of appropriations earmarks for specific projects.  The bill also cuts $35 million from the crop insurance performance-based premium discount program being developed by USDA's Risk Management Agency.  The House of Representatives is expected to consider the FY 2011 continuing resolution tomorrow and Senate action is expected by Thursday.

It would also reduce funding for the Environmental Protection Agency by $1.6 billion, a 16 percent decrease.

USA Rice Federation and 21 other agricultural organizations wrote to House and Senate leaders last week urging no reductions to farm bill programs in the continuing resolution and that any proposed changes occur in the context of the farm bill debate.