Conference Submits Ag Appropriations Bill
October 28, 2005
October 28, 2005 -- The U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate conference committee met this week and completed action on the fiscal year 2006 Agricultural Appropriations.
The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) applauds the leadership of the subcommittee chairmen, Sen. Robert Bennett (R-UT) and Rep. Henry Bonilla (R-TX), in funding each of the programs that directly impact the sheep industry, as well as two provisions added in this year's legislation with direction on livestock risk protection-lamb (LRP-Lamb) and a sheep-industry study.
Scrapie Eradication. The scrapie program is slated to receive $18.6 million in the next fiscal year. This is nearly a $1 million increase over the current year budget of $17.7 million.
National Sheep Industry Improvement Center. An appropriation of $1.25 million, up from $1 million last year, is included for the sheep center for the continuance of loans and grants aimed at advancing the U.S. sheep industry.
Wildlife Services (WS). WS operations will receive an increase of more than $4 million, to $77.9 million, while WS methods development will maintain a $17.4-million budget. In addition, the conference agreed to include $10.7 million for wildlife control in the Western states. As requested by ASI and its state associations, Bennett included the provision in the Senate version, which means an increase of $700,000 for this year. It was noted in the language of the bill that the committee does not concur with the President's request to reduce funding in the WS account to allow cooperators to assume a larger share of the costs associated with these activities.
Foreign Agricultural Services. The measure also fully funds both the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) Program at $200 million and $34.5 million, respectively. The American Sheep Industry Association (ASI) utilized these matching-funds programs as a means of cost-sharing promotional and developmental functions for wool and pelts, as well as overseas marketing activities.
New language in the legislation this year includes:
Economic Research Service. The committee supported a request by ASI to complete an inclusive sheep report. The language stated: "For necessary expenses of the ERS in conducting economic research and analysis, $75,931,000: Provided, That none of the funds made available by this Act or any other Act may be used by the Department of Agriculture to publish, disseminate, or distribute, internally or externally, Agriculture Information Bulletin Number 787 (Trends in the U.S. Sheep Industry): Provided further, That of the funds provided to the ERS, the Secretary of Agriculture shall use $350,000 to enter into an agreement for a comprehensive report on the economic development and current status of the sheep industry in the United States to be prepared by the National Academy of Sciences."
LRP-Lamb. The conferees also urged the Risk Management Agency to initiate a pilot program that would evaluate the effectiveness of lamb-price insurance for sheep producers of all-size operations and all geography as proposed in the House bill by Bonilla.
A two-year delay on the implementation of country-of-origin labeling of all products except seafood was included in the final report. The provision moves the mandatory implementation date back to 2008.
The bill is expected to be considered by the House today and the Senate could act on short notice as well. Once approved by both, it will be sent to the President for his signature.
Staff contact: Peter Orwick, ext. 33