The House approved this week a $1 trillion omnibus spending package that would fund the federal government, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), through fiscal year 2014.
The legislation (H.R. 3547), approved on a 359-67 vote was also approved by the U.S. Senate and has been transmitted to the White House.
The omnibus package would fund 12 departments - giving USDA and the Food and Drug Association a combined increase of $350 million for a total of $20.9 billion in discretionary spending. Several agencies would receive slight increases, or funding levels close to fiscal year 2013.
While the package would provide funding for USDA operations, the legislation also touches upon various agricultural policy issues.
The bill seeks to stop the Grain Inspection, Stockyards and Packers Administration from finalizing rules dealing with contracts in the livestock and poultry sector.
It recommends, but does not require, that the USDA delays finalizing country-of-origin labeling rules until after the World Trade Organization issues a final decision on the program.
The bill also includes a provision to prohibit funding from being used for USDA inspections of U.S. horse slaughter facilities. A similar ban was in place from 2005 to 2011.
Further, the legislation includes a provision, which aims to clarify a prohibition on the Occupational Safety and Health Administration from regulating farms with fewer than 10 employees.
A list of proposed agency funding levels can be viewed www.agri-pulse.com/uploaded/spending_2014_approp.pdf.
Reprinted in part from Agri-pulse