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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Agriculture and Related Agencies:FY2011 Appropriations

Jim Monke, Coordinator
Specialist in Agricultural Policy

Melissa D. Ho
Specialist in Agricultural Policy

Megan Stubbs
Analyst in Agricultural Conservation and Natural Resources Policy

Renée Johnson
Specialist in Agricultural Policy

Tadlock Cowan
Analyst in Natural Resources and Rural Development

Dennis A. Shields
Specialist in Agricultural Policy

Remy Jurenas
Specialist in Agricultural Policy

The Agriculture appropriations bill provides funding for all of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) except the Forest Service, plus the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and, in some cases, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Appropriations jurisdiction for the CFTC is split between two subcommittees—the House Agriculture appropriations subcommittee and the Senate Financial Services appropriations subcommittee.

The FY2011 Agriculture appropriations bill has seen no floor action and only limited committee action. The House Agriculture appropriations subcommittee marked up its draft on June 30, 2010, but the full committee did not vote on or report the bill, and thus only summary information is publicly available. The full Senate Appropriations Committee reported its version of the Agriculture appropriations bill (S. 3606, S.Rept. 111-221) on July 15, 2010. With no further action on the bill, agencies are being funded at FY2010 levels under a continuing resolution (P.L. 111-242) that expires on December 3, 2010.

The House subcommittee markup would provide $23.1 billion of discretionary spending (including CFTC). This is $256 million less than the official FY2010 discretionary total (-1.1%). However, the FY2010 appropriation included two large items that are not in the FY2011 budget: $350 million of supplemental dairy assistance, and $173 million for a rural housing program that was replaced by user fees. If these two items totaling half a billion dollars are excluded from FY2010 for comparison, the House FY2011 draft is $215 million more than the FY2010 adjusted total (+0.9%; unlike the Administration and Senate bill, the House draft retained $52 million for the rural housing program, making this adjustment $471 million rather than $523 million).

The House subcommittee draft has increases for FDA (+$214 million), CFTC (+$92 million), foreign assistance (+$110 million), Farm Service Agency accounts (+$107 million), and meat and poultry inspection (+18 million). Agricultural research programs are nearly flat in total. These increases are partially offset by a $95 million reduction in domestic nutrition assistance, a $25 million reduction in animal and plant health programs, and a larger amount of reductions from mandatory programs than in FY2010.

The Senate-reported bill would provide $23.2 billion of discretionary spending (including for comparison the amount for CFTC from another appropriations bill). This is $142 million less than the official FY2010 discretionary total (-0.6%), but $381 million more than FY2010 if the above adjustment for dairy and rural housing is made (+1.7%). The Senate bill’s discretionary total is $114 million more than the House draft. For accounts shared by both the House and Senate Agriculture appropriations subcommittees, the Senate bill is $89 million higher (+0.4%) than the House draft. The Senate bill is relatively more generous than the House for conservation, animal and plant health programs, Farm Service Agency programs, and nutrition assistance. The Senate bill is relatively less generous than the House draft for foreign assistance and FDA (although both still would receive more than FY2010).

Mandatory programs would receive $11.1 billion more (+11%) than in FY2010 in the Senate bill, with all of that increase in domestic nutrition assistance. Child nutrition amounts are up $1.3 billion (+8%) and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) is up $9.9 billion (+17%) over FY2010. This continues a trend of rapidly rising food assistance programs because of the economic downturn in recent years. Mandatory appropriations for farm support programs are flat. Amounts for mandatory programs are not available for the House draft.

Date of Report: November 4, 2010
Number of Pages: 61
Order Number: R41475
Price: $29.95

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