NSAC: Appropriations bill contains wins for agriculture
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition said late Thursday that the Agriculture section of the consolidated appropriations bill that Congress passed contains “strong funding levels” for many of its appropriations priorities.
NSAC cited the following provisions:
▪ Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Program: $27 million appropriated, representing a 6 percent increase from FY 2018 and the highest funding level in the program’s 30-year history.
▪ Farm bill conservation programs: No cuts for the second year in a row, “which is critically important in the first year of implementation under the 2018 farm bill.”
▪ Outreach and Assistance for Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers program: $3 million in discretionary funding appropriated, in addition to $15 million in farm bill funding provided under the new Farming Opportunity Training and Outreach program.
▪ Food Safety Outreach Program: $8 million appropriated, a $1 million (14 percent) increase in funding for farmer food safety training.
▪ Value-Added Producer Grants: $15 million appropriated, plus an additional $2.5 million for technical assistance. This amount is level with FY 2018, and meets NSAC’s request. VAPG is also provided with $17.5 million in FY 2019 under the 2018 farm bill’s new Local Agriculture Market Program.
▪ Conservation Operations and Technical Assistance: $819 million appropriated, combined with $70.8 million in funding that was moved to the business center within the USDA’s Farm Production and Conservation mission area, this represents a $15 million increase above last year’s funding levels.
▪ Farm Service Agency Loans: Level funding from FY 2018. “NSAC will continue to work to ensure the available funding reflects demand, especially following changes made to loan caps in the 2018 farm bill.”