The president on Monday released his fiscal year 2013 budget. As the budget relates to the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service's (APHIS) Wildlife Services (WS), it calls for essentially the same budgetary decrease as last year with operations cut to $67.7 million. Fortunately, the American Sheep Industry Association was successful last year in its request to appropriation leaders in the House and Senate to restore funding to its original level of $72.5 million.
The proposed budget for WS damage management would apparently eliminate funding for assistance to aquaculture producers in 14 states, eliminate funding for rabies services in areas outside of the barrier zone and postpone or reduce equipment purchases and non-critical activities at the WS Aviation Training Center in Utah.
Funding for WS methods development is shown with a reduction of more than $1 million ($18 million down to $16.7 million). Long-term research and development activities on wildlife-aircraft strikes and invasive species would be reduced while maintaining a focus on high-priority public safety work.
The budget proposes $14 to APHIS Veterinary Services for the scrapie eradication program. This is a $3 million reduction to a program that is critical for the sheep industry to eliminate scrapie in the United States.
The administration has again asked for legislative authority for the Food Safety Inspection Service to levy user fees on meat, poultry and egg product inspection.
As part of the budget, the administration has proposed full funding of $200 million for the Market Access Program and $34.5 million for the Foreign Market Development Program.
Hearings will be held in both the House and Senate over the coming weeks on the president's budget.