The Senate Appropriations Committee passed the annual agriculture spending bill last week. The spending bill would provide $22.8 billion for discretionary programs and operating costs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Food and Drug Administration for Fiscal Year 2011. The spending bill is in addition to $109 billion provided in the 2008 Farm Bill for FY 2011. Of this overall $131.8 billion spending, more than $94 billion is anticipated for USDA's nutrition and feeding programs.
Last week's $22.8 billion Senate bill includes an increase of $83 million for additional food safety inspectors and other FDA projects, including funding for FDA to study and design new food labeling requirements. It also includes $30 million for the Healthy Food Financing Initiative, a program to expand access of nutritious foods to communities.
The Senate bill provides $7.2 billion for the Special Supplemental Food Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) that includes increased fruit and vegetable vouchers in the WIC food package.
The Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) anticipates collecting $60 million from dairy manufacturers for the milk marketing order assessment fund in 2011. This is in addition to taxpayer funding of $20 million for other administrative costs of running the agricultural marketing orders, and $97 million for other AMS programs. The Senate bill would instruct AMS to implement electronic reporting of dairy product price reporting. The full report of the Senate is here.
The House Appropriations Committee's Agriculture Subcommittee has passed their version of the bill but it has yet to be voted on by the full committee.
"With the limited time remaining on this year's legislative calendar, action on these bills is likely to be delayed until after the elections in November," said Ruth Saunders, vice president of policy and legislative affairs for IDFA.
Members with questions may contact Ruth Saunders at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 220-3553.