House spending bills for fiscal 2022 make climate action a priority both at home and abroad, while increasing spending on environmental enforcement.
Agricultural research would also get a significant boost, but far less than what President Joe Biden proposed in his FY22 budget.
Programs to promote small-scale and local agriculture are also funding priorities in the bills.
Ahead of the July 4 recess, the House appropriations committee approved the first of its fiscal year 22 funding bills, including agriculture, which funds the Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration; Interior-Environment, which funds the Ministry of the Interior and the Environmental Protection Agency; and State-Foreign Operations, which funds the US Agency for International Development, which manages international food aid and agricultural development programs.
The Plenary Assembly will consider the bills later. House spending bills will have to be reconciled with what the Senate ultimately produces, but since both Houses are under Democratic control this year, the House’s priorities stand a better chance of surviving the legislative process.
The 2022 budget year begins on October 1.
Here are some of the highlights of the FY22 bills.
This is an area where the committee has agreed to provide significant funding increases, but at lower levels than desired by the White House. USDA would get $ 3.4 billion for research, an increase of $ 321 million from fiscal year 21. USDA’s internal research led by the Agricultural Research Service would get an increase of 145 million to $ 1.64 billion, which is $ 212 million less than Biden wanted.
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which funds research through colleges and universities and other outside entities, would get an increase of $ 69 million in FY 22 to $ 992.6 million, which is $ 317 million less than Biden wanted.
The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, part of NIFA, is a competitive grant program that targets six research areas, including plant and animal health, food security, agricultural systems and natural resources. He would get a raise of $ 15 million to $ 450 million for 2022, well below the $ 700 million requested by Biden.
An important small NIFA program for small-scale agriculture – Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education, or SARE – would get an increase from $ 10 million to $ 50 million in fiscal year 22.
Funding for direct farm property loans would be increased from $ 300 million to $ 2.8 billion in fiscal year 22. The bill provides $ 3.5 billion for secured property loans, an increase of $ 200 million from fiscal year 21.
Direct and guaranteed operating loans would be funded at $ 1.6 billion and $ 2.1 billion, the same amounts as in FY21.
The committee report accompanying the Indoor Environmental Expenditure Bill prompts the EPA to follow through on a request to make renewable diesel and jet fuel produced from canola oil through a process of ‘hydrotreatment eligible for the renewable fuels standard.
Republicans on the Appropriations Committee failed to redirect the $ 25 million contained in the Indoor Environment Bill for electric vehicles. Representative Ashley Hinson, R-Iowa, proposed shifting the money to drinking water grants, saying “$ 25 million is a lot of money for bureaucrats to drive fancy cars “. Representative Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, defended the financing of electric vehicles. “That doesn’t mean everyone in government will drive a Tesla,” she said.
The Indoor Environment Bill report supports a ruling by the U.S. 9th Court of Appeals that ordered the EPA to revoke or change tolerances for the insecticide chlorpyrifos.
“The Committee accepts the findings of numerous studies linking the use of chlorpyrifos to brain damage in children. The Agency is expected to meet its obligations to protect human health and the environment. said the report.
Various USDA programs and offices would get $ 347.4 million for climate-related work. According to the committee’s bill report, funding will go to “new investments through the USDA to focus on research and assessment of climate change; measurement and monitoring; mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions; carbon sequestration; and clean energy technologies.
The State-Foreign Ops bill designates $ 1.6 billion for the United Nations Green Climate Fund, $ 350 million more than Biden requested. The Obama administration initially pledged $ 3 billion to the fund, which is designed to help people become more resilient to extreme weather and rising seas, but the Trump administration has refused to invest the money. in the initiative.
The report on the bill also calls on USAID and the State Department to “include reforestation and grassland restoration in the design and planning of environmental and food security activities” abroad.
The Farm Bill fully funds USDA conservation programs at levels mandated by the 2018 Farm Bill, while increasing funding for the staff and other operations of the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
NRCS conservation operations are reportedly funded at $ 894.7 million, including nearly $ 760 million for technical assistance in conservation, according to an analysis by the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition.
In FY21, NRCS received $ 832.7 million for conservation operations, of which $ 734 million was for technical assistance.
EPA’s environmental programs are reportedly funded to the tune of $ 3.4 billion under the House bill, an increase of $ 603 million from FY21 and just $ 63 million less than what Biden asked for. These programs include the EPA’s regulatory work as well as “geography” programs that fund initiatives to clean up and reduce pollution in the Chesapeake Bay, the Great Lakes and other areas.
Some $ 142 million would be spent on a new “environmental justice” program that aims in part to ensure that the agency considers the impact on minority communities when issuing permits and taking action. other measures. The report on the bill calls on the EPA to develop a definition of “disproportionately exposed communities” and incorporate the definition into its environmental work. Concentrated animal feed operations have in the past been accused of harming poor communities.
The Home Office’s Fish and Wildlife Service is reportedly getting $ 1.9 billion, an increase of $ 301 million from FY21.
LOCAL / ORGANIC FOOD
In addition to the increase for the SARE research program, there is higher funding for other programs that would benefit local agriculture and organic farming.
Funding for local food production through USDA Rural Development would be increased from $ 25 million to $ 100 million, enough to fund $ 2 billion in loans. An additional $ 1 million is reserved for local food centers and $ 2 million for small apprenticeships in meat packaging.
The local farmer’s market program, a bundle of initiatives, is reportedly funded to the tune of $ 21.4 million, with $ 100 million in coronavirus aid provided by Congress in December and $ 50 million in additional funding that will be available in fiscal year 22.
The Farmers Market Nutrition Program, which is funded by the Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants and Children, would be increased from $ 9 million to $ 30 million.
Funding for the National Organic Program, which governs organic food standards overseas, would be increased from $ 2 million to $ 20.3 million.
USAID would get $ 1.1 billion, the amount authorized by the Global Food Security Act, for agricultural development. The report on the bill encourages USAID to expand its Feed the Future initiative to other countries. The program is currently operating in 12 target countries.
INTERNATIONAL FOOD AID
USDA’s flagship food donation program, Food for Peace, would get $ 1.74 billion in FY22, the same amount as in FY21. McGovern-Dole School would go from $ 15 million to $ 245 million.
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