The Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee included more than $7 billion in disaster assistance to help farmers and ranchers with losses due to drought and other natural disasters in its Fiscal Year 2022 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.
The legislation will go to the full Senate Appropriations Committee for review later this week, according to Sen. John Hoeven, R-N.D. The bill included $6.28 billion to aid producers who experienced looses due to droughts, hurricanes, wildfires, floods and other qualifying disasters in calendar years 2020 and 2021 and $750 for livestock producers who experienced losses during 2021 due to drought or wildfire, on top of existing farm bill programs for livestock producers.
“With many of our farmers and ranchers facing a severe drought, we worked to include more than $7 billion in this year’s agriculture appropriations bill, including $750 million for livestock producers. This will help to cover losses and keep our producers in the game as they overcome these challenging times,” said Hoeven, the ranking member on the committee. “At the same time, this bill will help to meet the needs of rural America, including fully funding farm loans to provide producers with access to capital, strong support for agricultural research and continued investment in rural broadband. We will continue working to advance this important funding legislation, which will now go to the full Appropriations Committee for review.”
Other provisions in the bill highlighted by Hoeven include the following:
- A provision establishing a pilot program for a cattle contract library at the Agriculture Marketing Service. The contract library would help improve price transparency in cattle markets as part of efforts to ensure ranchers have access to fair and competitive markets.
- An additional $2 million for AMS to enforce the Packers and Stockyards Act.
- Increases funding to meet demand for direct, guaranteed and emergency loans, which provide farmers and ranchers with access to capital.
- Maintains support for crop insurance and other farm bill programs.
- $5 million for the Wetland Mitigation Banking program, providing an important resource for farmers to remain conservation compliant.
- $500,000 for blackbird depredation in the Northern Great Plains through the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.
- Directs the National Agriculture Statistics Service to provide information on how the agency can improve the accuracy of their reports.
- Additional $9 million for maintenance and repair of the Agriculture Research Service facilities, like the Edward T. Schafer Agricultural Research Center.
- $1 million for a new cooperative agreements with land grand universities, non-profits and other entities to support the research, development and acceleration of agriculture technology.
- Provides strong funding for agricultural research conducted by ARS and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
- Maintains formula research funding for land-grant universities, including NDSU.
- Increases the following research funding: $1 million each for sugarbeet research, Barley Pest Initiative, National Canola Research program, Pulse Crop Health Initiative, Healthy Soils Initiative, Pulse Crop Quality Initiative, and Genetic Oat Research; $500,000 increase for the Alfalfa Seed and Alfalfa Forage Systems Research program. The bill also maintains funding for the Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative.
- $700 million for the ReConnect Program, a rural broadband loan and grant pilot program.
- $5 million for the Rural Innovation Stronger Economy Grant Program, which supports innovation clusters in rural regions.