The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture approved the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 appropriations bill this week. The full appropriations committee is scheduled to take up the bill on May 31.
The bill provides $125 billion for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration for the 2012 FY starting Oct. 1, 2011. Although the bill is $282.8 million over FY 2011 levels, key programs such as agriculture research ($353.5 million reduction), Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) ($73.5 million reduction) and Agriculture Marketing Service (reductions of $9 million and $140 million in mandatory programs) face significant cuts.
USDA APHIS Wildlife Services (WS) funding for the FY remains unclear as no detailed numbers have been released to the public. The President's FY 2012 budget for WS does not bode well for producers as the administration proposed $68.4 million for Wildlife Damage Management, a reduction of $10.45 million from FY 2011 appropriations.
Approximately $3 million of the $10.45 million is livestock protection related, according to Dustin Bryant, associate director of resource management for Meyers and Associates in Washington, D.C.
Bryant mentions that subcommittee member Rep. Cynthia Lummis (Wyo.) anticipates some increase above the President's budget will make it to the full committee version.
Sheep producers from nearly all of the nine states impacted by the loss of predator management funding due to the earmark ban were active on Capitol Hill this month seeking support to restore the funds.
The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture has not yet set a time for a meeting, but one is anticipated early this summer.