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Government Relations & Washington Update

June 2021

House Subcommittee Approves FY 22 Agriculture Appropriations Bill

On June 25th, the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee met to consider its version of agriculture appropriations for fiscal year 2022. The subcommittee approved the bill on a voice vote and it now goes to the full committee for action. House leadership has stated its goal of securing full House approval of appropriations bills before the end of July.

The agriculture appropriations bill provides discretionary funding of $26.55 billion, which is $2.851 billion above 2021. In total, the bill includes $196.7 billion for both discretionary and mandatory programs. During the subcommittee meeting, Chairman Sanford Bishop (D-GA) highlighted three priority areas for the legislation. First, the bill provides nearly $400 million in investments solely to ensure equitable participation in USDA programs, more than 16% higher than the administration’s impressive request. Among those investments are increases at 1890 and 1994 land grant universities, and Hispanic serving institutions. Second, the bill provides nearly $350 million to address the impacts of climate change, including support for research to monitor, measure and mitigate climate change, accelerate climate smart agriculture practices, reduce greenhouse gases, and advance clean energy technologies. Third, it fully funds federal pay costs and rebuilds the leadership offices at USDA that have been decimated over the past several years.  These changes are designed to ensure that program levels are not reduced by having to absorb pay costs and that they are properly managed.

The bill provides $3.324 billion – $226.5 million above the FY 2021 enacted level – for agriculture research programs, including the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) the Economic Research Service and the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS). ERS would receive $88.5 million in the bill, while NASS would receive $189 million, of which $46.8 million is for the agricultural census. ARS research would be funded at $1.637 billion, with $70 million specified to address climate change. ARS buildings and facilities are slated to receive $126.5 million, of which $20 million shall be allocated for ARS facilities co-located with university partners, and $46.7 million shall be ‘‘Community Project Funding”, the new process for Congressional directed earmarks. The remainder of Community Project Funding in the bill is dedicated to Rural Development programs.

For NIFA, $1.06 billion is provided for research and education programs (including $35 million for climate change research), $553.5 million for extension activities and $40 million for integrated activities. The bill language does not provide many details about specific program levels, but the subcommittee has indicated that the funding provided includes important research investments in U.S. land-grant colleges and universities, including a significant increase for the 1890 institutions, and for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. More details on individual NIFA accounts will be available once the committee report is published in conjunction with full committee consideration.