How the spending and tax bill affects agriculture

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U.S. Capitol dome.
U.S. Capitol dome. (Farm and Dairy file photo)

The following are some of the ways the end-of-year omnibus spending and taxation package are expected to affect agriculture. Summary information provided by House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, R-Kentucky.

Ag research. The bill provides $2.94 billion for agricultural research programs, including the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Increased funding is provided to help mitigate crop diseases, improve food safety and water quality, and address issues related to drought, invasive species and animal health.

Animal and plant health. Some $898 million is included for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). This funding will support programs to control or eradicate plant and animal pests and diseases. This also includes increases funding for highly pathogenic avian influenza.

Farm Service Agency. Some $1.51 billion is provided for FSA, which is equal to the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $12 million above the President’s request. This funding will support more than $6.4 billion in loan authorizations for farm, conservation, and emergency loan programs.

Labeling policy. A provision repealing mandatory Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) requirements for certain meat products. The current requirement is in violation of World Trade Organization trade standards, and would have resulted in trade retaliation by other nations if continued — negatively impacting the U.S. economy by more than $1 billion.

Rural development. The bill provides a total of $2.8 billion for rural development programs, which is $368 million above the fiscal year 2015 level and $167 million above the president’s request. The legislation also provides $36.7 billion in loan authorizations for rural communities to address housing, electrification and telecommunication needs.

Food safety and inspection. The legislation includes more than $1 billion for the Food Safety and Inspection Service, $1.6 million below the fiscal year 2015 enacted level and $3.3 million above the President’s request.

Conservation programs. The bill provides $864 million for the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

Food and Nutrition Programs. The legislation contains discretionary funding, as well as mandatory funding required by law, for food and nutrition programs within the Department of Agriculture. The Women Infants and Children program will receive full funding, of $6.35 billion; nearly $81 billion for the food stamp program; and more than $22 billion for the child nutrition program.

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Chris Kick served Farm and Dairy's readership as a reporter for nearly a decade before accepting a job at Iowa State University Extension. An American FFA Degree recipient, he holds a bachelor’s in creative writing from Ashland University.

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