The House Agriculture, Rural Development, the Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee approved via voice vote the $125 billion fiscal year (FY) 2012 spending bill that includes tough choices, Subcommittee Chairman Jack Kingston, R-Ga., said in his prepared statement.

The bill now goes to the full Appropriations Committee for a May 31 mark-up.  Of the total dollars proposed, slightly more than $108 billion are for mandatory programs, an increase of nearly $3 billion over the current year -- with $17.2 billion allocated for discretionary accounts, down almost $2.7 billion from FY 2011.

The bill makes no changes to the marketing loan or direct and countercyclical payment programs and does not amend farm program payment eligibility requirements.  The Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program are funded fully at $200 million and $34.5 million, respectively.  The Public Law 480 Title II food aid program is pared by nearly $457 million, to $1 billion.  Conservation operations are reduced by $99 million, to $770 million, with spending limits imposed on several conservation programs, including the Conservation Stewardship ($634 million) and the Environmental Quality Incentives Programs ($1.4 billion).

The subcommittee's bill contains widespread program reductions, though it is priced at nearly $283 million more than FY 2011, due in part to increased mandatory funding for some domestic feeding programs.  The subcommittee cut the discretionary Women, Infants, and Children Program funding by almost $833 million.

USA Rice sent its FY 2012 funding views to the subcommittee last month, including requests to leave farm safety net programs intact and to fund fully MAP and FMD.