September 15, 2003
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture the third week of July reported out its FY 2004 Agricultural appropriations bill. Successfully funded are scrapie eradication, Wildlife Services operations, Wildlife Services research, wool research and the National Sheep Industry Improvement Center (NSIIC).
The scrapie eradication program is slated to receive a $325,000 increase over the 2003 funding level. This would bring total funding to $15.698 million.
?We are pleased with the increase for our top national animal-health initiative,? stated Peter Orwick, American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) executive director.
Wildlife Services operations and Wildlife Services research both gained increased levels of funding to just slightly more than $70 million and $16 million, respectively.
Approximately $300,000 was allocated to wool research with the NSIIC receiving nearly $500,000 to continue funding loans and grants for the advancement of the U.S. sheep industry.
The FY 2004 appropriations bill is expected to go the Senate floor following the August congressional recess and then to conference with the U.S. House version approved earlier this month.
In related news, during consideration of the House Agricultural Appropriations bill, on July 14, 2003, U.S. Reps. Dennis Rehberg (R-MT) and Darlene Hooley (D-OR) offered an amendment to allow the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to continue the process of implementing country-of-origin labeling (COOL), which was signed into law as part of the Farm Bill last Congress.
The Rehberg-Hooley Amendment was designed to counteract the language included in the appropriations bill, which would eliminate funding to the USDA for COOL implementation on all meat products for a year.
The Rehberg-Hooley Amendment failed by a narrow margin ? 208 against, 193 for.