October 31, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
Senate Advances Agriculture Appropriations Bill
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition applauds progress, urges increased support for farmer entrepreneurship program in conferenced bill
Washington, DC, October 31, 2019 – Today, the Senate passed on the floor, as part of a four bill “minibus”, the final version of their Agriculture Appropriations bill for fiscal year (FY) 2020. With another potential government shutdown looming – federal spending is currently operating under a “Continuing Resolution” that is set to expire on November 21, 2019 – the forward momentum of an agriculture spending bill is welcome news to farmers and farm advocates nationwide. The Senate’s Agriculture Appropriations bill for FY 2020 must now be conferenced with the House passed bill before becoming law. In response to the passage of the Senate bill, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) issued the following comment:
“In a time that for America’s farm families has been rife with uncertainty, the passage of a FY 2020 agriculture spending bill by the Senate is welcome news,” said Wes King, Senior Policy Specialist at NSAC. “This brings us one step closer to a final spending package for agriculture for the current fiscal year, and one step closer to some much-needed certainty about what resources will be available for farmers and food/farm organizations.
We at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition are very excited to see some new support in the Senate bill, included as part of the “Manager’s Package”, for two very important efforts: the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) and the Office of Urban Agriculture. Both of these new programs, which were authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill, received increases of $5 million. This additional funding will significantly help support their early launch and outreach efforts.
While we are glad to see this process move forward and the inclusion of much-needed additional funding for FRSAN and the Office of Urban Agriculture, we remain disappointed that other key programs did not receive adequate support. Chief among these, the Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program, which saw its entire discretionary budget zeroed out in the Senate package, and the Sustainable Agriculture Research Education (SARE) program, which did not receive the increased investment for which farmers across the country have been calling. We are also disappointed that the Senate did not include any language to prohibit USDA from undermining its own research agencies by uprooting them from their historic home in the capital and moving them to the Kansas City Metro Region.
When the Senate and House agriculture appropriations bills are conferenced, we hope to see the House’s provisions for VAPG and SARE included, as well as strong language to protect agricultural research and USDA research scientists.”
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
Categories: Budget and Appropriations