Agricultural research programs, international food aid programs and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) all would see cuts to their FY2013 funding based on a bill adopted by the House Appropriations Committee’s agriculture subcommittee on Wednesday.
In total, the bill provided $19.4 billion in funding for discretionary programs, which represents a cut of $365 million from last year’s budget and is $1.7 billion lower than Obama Administration’s budget request.
Agricultural research programs, which must be funded each year by appropriators, would receive $2.5 billion under the bill, a cut of $35 million from FY2012 spending levels. While $20 million was cut from the USDA-Agricultural Research Service (ARS) budget, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) competitive grants program was increased by $12 million from FY2012.
Export market development programs, such as the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development (FMD) program, which are essential to the wheat industry’s efforts to increase exports abroad, were reauthorized at their current levels of $200 million and $34.5 million, respectively.
The bill provided $180 million for CFTC funding, which represents a $25 million cut from last year’s funding level. Multiple members of the subcommittee were not pleased with the bill’s cuts to the CFTC budget, claiming it would make implementing Dodd-Frank regulations difficult.
The Food for Peace program for international food aid was funded at nearly $1.15 billion, about $250 million short of the Administration’s request and a 21 percent cut from FY2012.
The bill provided $812 million, a decrease of $16 million below last year’s level, for USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs and $1.5 billion, a decrease of $23.8 million from last year’s level, for USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA).
Several changes were also made in funding to nutrition programs. The Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program was funded at $6.9 billion, an increase of $300 million over FY2012 but still shy of the Administration request by $119 million.
SNAP, commonly known as the food stamp program, received $80 million dollars in funding, a $408 million cut from FY2012 and $2 billion less than the Administration’s budget.
The bill will now go to the full House Appropriations Committee, and later the full House, for consideration. The Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the FY2013 agriculture spending bill in April.
The federal government’s fiscal year ends on Sept. 30, though it is widely expected at least one short-term continuing resolution will be necessary to allow Congress more time to complete its funding work. Last year, however, the agriculture bill was one of few that moved in regular order.
Source: National Wheat Growers Association