The Senate Appropriations Committee has approved the FY12 agricultural appropriations bill. Overall discretionary spending for the Agriculture Subcommittee for FY12 totals $19.780 billion, which includes $1.750 billion in security spending and $18.030 in non-security spending. This represents a net security/non-security decrease of $138 million below the FY11 continuing resolution. However, non-security spending alone is reduced by $192 million below the FY11 continuing resolution. The bill also includes $266 million to respond to floods, storms and other natural disasters.
The bill reflects reductions below the FY11 funding level in many programs. In making these funding decisions, programs directly related to public health and safety and domestic and international nutrition assistance programs were prioritized.
Summaries of the funding decisions follow.
- Food and Drug Administration. The FY12 bill provides $2.497 billion for the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), as compared to $2.447 billion in FY11, not including funding collected through user fees. The FDA is the only non-security Agency to receive increased funding in this bill. This funding level takes into consideration the federal government's responsibilities to protect public health and safety, especially in the areas of food, drugs, medical devices and biologics. An increase is provided the FDA to begin implementation of the recently passed Food Safety Modernization Act.
- Food Safety and Inspection Service. The FY12 bill provides the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) $1.007 billion, the same level as FY11. This includes the full funding requested in the budget for federal, state and international inspection activities, and will allow the FSIS to continue modernizing its workforce and improving food safety systems.
- Domestic Nutrition. The FY12 provides $6.582 billion for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children, as compared to $6.734 billion in FY11. This level will fully fund participation in the program. The decrease from FY11 is due to lower program participation rates than originally estimated. This level also provides $60 million for breastfeeding peer counselors. For other domestic nutrition programs, the FY12 bill provides $382 million, as compared to $393 million in FY11. This includes funding for the Commodity Supplemental Food Program of $176 million, which fully funds participation.
- Foreign Food Assistance. The FY12 bill provides $1.562 billion for PL 480 Title II, as compared to $1.5 billion in FY11. The PL 480 Title II program provides emergency food assistance to the most vulnerable areas in the world. The bill provides an increase for PL 480 Title II to reflect the increased demand for humanitarian food assistance especially with the unprecedented famine in the Horn of Africa. The McGovern-Dole Program, which provides school meals to the world's poorest children, is funded at $188 million, as compared to $199 million in FY11.
- Research. The FY12 bill provides $2.309 billion for the National Institute on Food and Agriculture (NIFA) and the Agricultural Research Service, as compared to $2.348 billion in FY11. Specifically within NIFA, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative is funded at $266 million, the Hatch Act is funded at $236 million, the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry program is funded at $33 million, and Smith-Lever Sections 3(b) and 3(c) is funded at $296 million.
- Rural Development. The FY12 bill provides $654 million for Rural Development Salaries and Expenses, as compared to $688 million in FY11. Most programs were reduced from FY11 levels. For Housing and Community Programs, the bill provides $1.09 billion in budget authority while $1.224 billion was available in FY11. For Business Programs, the bill provides $119 million, as compared to $128 million in FY11. Under Rural Utilities Programs, the bill provides $557 million as compared to $597 million in FY11.
- Farm Service Agency. The FY12 bill provides $404 million for farm loan programs, as compared to $461 million in FY11. The bill provides $1.182 billion for salaries and expenses, as compared to $1.208 billion in FY11.
- Conservation. The FY12 bill provides $828 million for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, as compared to $871 million in FY11. The bill does not include funding for the Watershed Rehabilitation Program.