February 14, 2019
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Reana Kovalcik
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
Long-awaited Wins for Sustainable Agriculture Finally Delivered in FY 2019 Appropriations Bill
“Minibus” increases funding for core sustainable agriculture programs, rejects Administration’s planned relocation of USDA research agencies
Washington, DC, February 14, 2019 – After months of suffering through the longest government shutdown in history, America’s family farmers and ranchers are finally seeing movement on a new agriculture spending bill. Today, the House and Senate reached an agreement on a fiscal year (FY) 2019 spending package for the seven appropriations bills not yet signed into law.
The bill makes historic investments in sustainable agriculture research, prioritizes funding for farmer food safety training, value-added agriculture, military veterans and farmers of color, and protects essential conservation programs. Given the 2018 Farm Bill’s passage at the end of last year, this funding is particularly critical in order to begin implementation of numerous new or modified programs and policies.
“We applaud Congress, and in particular the members of the House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittees, for producing and passing an appropriations bill that continues to advance sustainable agriculture as a priority,” said Alyssa Charney, Senior Policy Specialist at the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC). “After enduring months of uncertainty and lapsed program funding resulting from the partial government shutdown, America’s farmers and rural communities are finally going to see long-awaited funding increases for sustainable agriculture programs become reality. NSAC thanks Congress for furthering investments in sustainable agriculture programs and priorities, and we urge the President to sign this funding package into law as soon as possible.”
The final funding package sets strong funding levels for each of NSAC’s top appropriations priorities for FY 2019:
“In addition to providing for these funding priorities, we would also like to thank appropriators for including language in their bill opposing USDA’s plan to relocate and reorganize the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA),” said Charney. “The inclusion of this strong opposition language reflects the real and justified concerns raised by NSAC and other stakeholders over the hasty manner in which this plan was formed and executed. We are pleased that the spending bill is clear in directing USDA to indefinitely delay the reorganization of ERS under the Office of the Chief Economist, and also that it demands that USDA provide a detailed analysis and cost estimates of the proposed relocation of both agencies.”
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: https://sustainableagriculture.net