June 3, 2011
The House Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug, Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations Committee on Tuesday approved the Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 agricultural spending measure, which funds programs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration. Several amendments were considered, and the bill passed the committee and is now slated for consideration by the full House of Representatives.
The bill provides $72.5 million for the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Wildlife Service's (WS) Wildlife Damage Management and $17 million for the WS Methods and Development programs. The $72.5 million for wildlife damage management is $5.28 million below FY 2010 levels and an increase of $1.5 million over FY 2011 levels.
"The increase in operations funding for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1 is extremely important for predator management, particularly for those state programs that lost earmarked funds this year," stated Peter Orwick, American Sheep Industry Association executive director. "Additionally, the committee report includes language prioritizing livestock protection programs, which is a result of state sheep association leaders working with their congressional delegations to make this happen."
The nine states with predator programs impacted by the earmark ban had $3 million in funds lost.
The bill is scheduled to be on the House floor under an Open Rule on Wednesday, June 15, and Thursday, June 16. The anticipated open rule allows all germane amendments to the bill giving preference to those amendments printed in the Congressional Record.
ASI's Legislative Action Council is preparing to work with the state associations, as well as our national partners that support USDA's WS, to defend the program from any attempts to attack the funding by amendments offered on the floor. Orwick recommends that producers contact their U.S. Representatives through June 15 to ensure support in protecting livestock from predators and oppose any amendments on WS. The legislative council will be providing the industry with updates and supplemental materials as the appropriations for agriculture package moves forward.
The bill also provides USDA's Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) with $973 million, which is $35 million below FY 2011 levels and $39.5 million below the President's FY 2012 funding request. Earlier this year, the administration requested that Congress approve user fees for meat, poultry and egg inspection in its budget submission. The House Appropriations Committee chose not to impose user fees for inspection services on the meat and poultry industry and to provide full federal funding for inspection.
The committee-approved measure also includes full funding for both the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program. MAP was funded at $200 million and FMD was funded at $34.5 million for FY 2012.
Sheep industry priorities, including research by USDA Agriculture Research Service on the sheep industry and wild sheep disease interaction, is also written into the report as an important topic for the agency to research. This research is strongly supported by ASI.
Disappointing was an amendment offered by Rep. Jim Moran (Va.) that prohibits USDA from funding the inspection of horse slaughter. The amendment was accepted by the committee on a vote of 24 to 21.