June 4, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Reana Kovalcik
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
House Appropriators Advance FY 2020 Agriculture Spending Bill
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition applauds House appropriators for advancing FY 2020 spending bill that invests in critical priorities and would block proposed relocation of USDA research agencies
Washington, DC, June 4, 2019 – This morning the House Appropriations Committee passed their fiscal year (FY) 2020 Agriculture Appropriations bill, sending it to the House floor for a vote in the weeks ahead. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) applauds appropriators for advancing an FY 2020 bill that meets or exceeds all of the coalition’s top funding priorities, and that also includes language to block the Administration’s proposal to relocate USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) outside of the National Capital Region and move ERS out of the Department’s research mission area.
“The House bill includes historic wins for sustainable agriculture priorities,” said Alyssa Charney, NSAC Senior Policy Specialist. “NSAC applauds House appropriators for crafting and advancing a bill that invests in rural communities, natural resource protection, sustainable agriculture research, food safety training, beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers, and local and regional food systems. In particular, the Committee passed bill includes $45 million for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program and $10 million for the Food Safety Outreach Program (FSOP). Additionally, the bill builds on important investments from the 2018 Farm Bill by including an additional $10 million in discretionary funding for the Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach (FOTO) program as well as an additional $23.4 million for the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP). We also thank appropriators for continuing to protect mandatory funding for farm bill conservation programs and rejecting any cuts to these programs through the annual appropriations process.”
In addition to these important funding increases, NSAC also thanks appropriators for including language that would prohibit the Administration from moving forward with a plan to relocate ERS and NIFA.
“By sending the agriculture appropriations bill to the House floor, appropriators are also sending a strong message about their adamant opposition to the Administration’s proposal to relocate ERS and NIFA, as well as to realign ERS under the Office of the Chief Economist,” said Charney. “As the Administration continues to move forward with its proposal that threatens the integrity and capacity of these two essential research agencies, we applaud House appropriators for advancing language that, if enacted, would stop this harmful proposal. It sends a strong message that the relocation and realignment is counter to congressional intent, and we urge Senate appropriators to also include language to block this reckless proposal that would be detrimental for agricultural research.”
NSAC is pleased to see the House Agriculture Appropriations bill moving forward towards consideration on the floor, but we recognize that major hurdles remain to securing final FY 2020 funding levels.
“Now that House Appropriators have advanced their agriculture spending bill out of Committee, we urge all House members to support the bill when it is considered on the floor in the weeks ahead. Additionally, NSAC urges Congress and the White House to secure a deal to lift the budget caps for the next two years in order to avoid devastating across-the-board budget cuts. The delay in a deal on budget caps has stalled Senate appropriators’ work and threatens the entire appropriations process for FY 2020. There is no viable path forward for the important wins in the House bill to become law without an increase to overall discretionary spending caps, and thus we urge Congress and the White House to quickly move forward to reach a budget deal for the next two fiscal years.”
About the National
Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC)
The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition is a grassroots alliance that advocates for federal policy reform supporting the long-term social, economic, and environmental sustainability of agriculture, natural resources, and rural communities. Learn more and get involved at: http://sustainableagriculture.net