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SPECIAL REPORT: House FY 2004Agriculture Appropriations Report and California Implications  -- August 14, 2003


[click here for pdf version]


By a vote of 347 to 64 on July 14, 2003, the House of Representatives passed an Agriculture Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2004, H.R. 2673, after the bill was approved by the House Appropriations Committee on June 25, 2003. The House Committee report accompanying the bill is H.Rpt. 108-93. (By a vote of 29 to 0, the Senate Appropriations Committee marked up and passed their version of the bill, S. 1427, on July 17, 2003. The Senate Committee report accompanying that bill is numbered S.Rpt. 108-107. )

The following represents a quick analysis of the bill from a California perspective as prepared by the California Institute. We apologize for any errors or omissions in our discussion of these documents, and would appreciate any input/feedback/corrections. The ordering of items generally reflects their presence in the bill and does not mean to imply any relative importance.

This appropriations analysis is available on the California Institute web site at http://www.calinst.org/pubs/ag04h.htm and a printable version in pdf format is available at http://www.calinst.org/pubs/ag04h.pdf . An analysis of the Senate version of the FY 2004 funding bill is available at http://www.calinst.org/pubs/ag04s.htm , and a pdf format version is available at http://www.calinst.org/pubs/ag04s.pdf .

FY 2004 HOUSE APPROPRIATIONS FOR THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, RURAL DEVELOPMENT, FOOD AND DRUG ADMINISTRATION, AND RELATED AGENCIES.

On June 25, 2003, the House Appropriations Committee reported its version of the Fiscal Year 2004 Appropriations bill for the Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies (H.R. 2673). The House passed the bill by a vote of 347-64 on July 14, 2003. The Senate Appropriations Committee marked up its version of the legislation three weeks later, on July 17, 2003.

 

AGRICULTURAL PROGRAMS

The bill includes language directing the Secretary, in partnership with state or local government agencies, and coordinating with the Farm Service Agency and Natural Resources Conservation Service, to develop a proposal and to identify pilot projects for a comprehensive and integrated view of transportation, land use by commercial, residential, agricultural and public

entities, and conservation of agricultural and environmental areas in Riverside and Orange Counties.

Agricultural Research Services (ARS)

The Committee provides $1.014 billion in funding for the Agricultural Research Services, which is $21 million less than was appropriated in FY 2003 and $27 million over the amount requested by the Bush Administration.

The total includes funding for the following California ARS Program:

– an increase of $300,000 in FY04 to the ARS research laboratory at Albany, California to develop new biological control methods for management of exotic brooms and gorse weeds infestations in the Western United States;

– an increase of $300,000 in fiscal year 2004 to the ARS research laboratory in Shafter, CA;

– due to devastating effects of the olive fruitfly on the olive industry in California, the Committee provides an increase of $100,000 in FY04 to expand the integrated pest management research program to control the olive fruitfly at ARS’ European Biological Control Laboratory;

– an increase of $500,000 in FY04 to enable ARS to move aggressively and effectively against the Pierce’s Disease/Glassywinged Sharpshooter threat to the economic viability of many crops in California. In particular, The Committee directs $200,000 of the increase be implemented to supplement ongoing research at Davis, California, and Ft. Pierce, Florida;

– an increase of $200,000 in FY04 for functional analyses of genomics and proteomics of maize at Albany, CA;

– an additional $250,000 for an applied genomics research position at ARS’ Davis, CA laboratory. The researcher will study the disease, Phytophthora ramorum, at the genetic level to attack the pathogen by finding unique and common features of resistance, defense and susceptible responses to Sudden Oak Death; and

– an increase of $400,000 in FY 04 for the ARS research station at Salinas, California to address the serious vegetable production problem in California.

The bill also directs the following California ARS programs to be funded at FY 2003 levels:

– Greenhouse Lettuce Germplasm, Salinas, CA

– Lettuce Geneticist/Breeder, Salinas, CA

– Organic Minor Crop Research, Salinas, CA

– Pierce’s Disease; Post-harvest and Controlled Atmosphere Chamber (Lettuce), Salinas, CA

– Sustainable Vineyard Practices Research, Davis, CA

– Sustainable Viticulture Research, Davis, CA

– Water Management Research Laboratory, Brawley, CA

With respect to funding for Buildings and Facilities for the Agricultural Research Service, the Committee provides $36 million. The bill’s total for Buildings and Facilities includes provisions that appropriate $3 million for the Grape Genomics Research Center in Davis, CA and $5 million for the U.S. Agricultural Research Station in Salinas, CA for planning and design purposes. President’s FY04 budget proposal did not include a request for either the Davis or Salinas appropriation.

COOPERATIVE STATE RESEARCH, EDUCATION, AND EXTENSION SERVICE (CSREES)

Research and Education Activities

The bill provides $595 million in funding for the research and education activities of the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service. The total is $22 million less than was appropriated in FY 2003, and $81 million over the Administration’s budget request. The total includes $101 million in funding for special research grants, which include the following:

– $1.9 million for Exotic Pest Disease research and education activities in California; the FY03 appropriation for this program was $1.888 million, while the Administration’s proposal did not include an appropriation for these activities;

– $427,000 for ozone air quality research and education activities in California; the FY03 appropriation for this program was also $427,000, while the Administration’s proposal did not include an appropriation for such activities;

– $99,000 for Sudden Oak Death research and education activities in California; the FY03 appropriation for this program was also $99,000, while the Administration’s proposal did not include an appropriation for these activities; this is the first time that the Cooperative State Research Education and Extension Service has had specified federal dollars to fund extension programs for Sudden Oak Death;

– $497,000 for sustainable agriculture research and education activities (SARE) in California; the FY03 appropriation for this program was also $497,000, while the Administration’s proposal did not include an appropriation for such activities. The bill includes an additional $13.7 million in funding for SARE under a separate alternative crops appropriation, which is the same amount as was appropriated in FY03 and $4.431 million over the amount requested by the Bush Administration. The Committee also provides $4.843 million for SARE as part of the Extension Activities funding. The latter is the same as was appropriated in FY03 and $1.051 million more than requested by the Administration; and

– $1.788 million for Viticulture Consortium research and education activities in California, New York, and Pennsylvania; the FY03 appropriation for this program was also $1.788 million, while the Administration’s proposal did not include an appropriation for such activities.

The Committee and Administration’s budget proposals provided no funding for olive fly research and education activities in California, though the FY03 allocation for olive fly research and education was $40,000.

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

The Committee provides $725 million in funding for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, which is $43 million over the amount appropriated in FY03, and $31 million more than was requested in the Administration’s budget proposal. The total appropriated for APHIS includes:

– an increase of $200,000 to evaluate the utility of remote sensing (hyperspectral imaging and Light Detection and Ranging) for the identification of ash trees, the early identification of emerald ash borer infestation, and the tracking and mapping of the diseased trees, and an increase of $1,000,000 for a cooperative agreement with the California County Pest Detection Augmentation Program.

The bill includes legislative language directing the Secretary of Agriculture to continue to use the authority provided in the bill to transfer funds from the Commodity Credit Corporation for emergency plant pest outbreaks, with the funding for the latter increased $21.4 million above the funding level provided in FY03. Within this increase, the Committee provides for the following:

– $4.4 million for Pierce’s Disease; and

– the continued FY03 funding level of $2 million for Sudden Oak Death activities, which will include monitoring plant importations, and providing outreach to commercial entities to prevent the spread of the disease

The House bill also includes legislative language directing the Secretary of Agriculture to use existing authority to provide financial assistance to avocado growers in the Valley Center area of San Diego County, California, who have incurred losses associated with the quarantine that has been imposed by the Department as a result of Mexican fruit fly infestation.

 

CONSERVATION PROGRAMS

Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS)

The House bill provides $850 million for NRCS operations, an increase of $30.4 million above the FY 2003 amount and an increase of $146.4 million above the Administration’s budget request. This agency provides financial and technical assistance to enhance agricultural productivity and to protect the natural resource base. The bill’s legislative language directs NRCS to make the Environmental Quality Incentive Program (EQIP) funding available for public land ranchers in several states, including California, to help meet regulatory demands and to relieve utilization pressure on private lands in those states. The Committee continues funding for the following California-based conservation operations:

– $1 million for non-native plant removal for the East Valley Conservation District/Santa Ana Watershed Authority;

– $600,000 in funding for the Monterey Bay Sanctuary;

– $500,000 for the Lake Tahoe Basin Soil Conservation Project (NV/CA); and

– $200,000 for the Lake Tahoe Basin area soil survey (NV/CA).

Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations

The Committee appropriates $90 million in funding for Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations, which is $19.285 million less than was provided in FY 2003 and $50 million over the request in the Administration’s budget proposal. The bill directs the Department of Agriculture to provide funding for a number of projects including the following California projects:

– Cave Creek Watershed; and

– Central Sonoma Watershed.

The NRCS is urged by the House Committee to complete the Beardsley Wash Watershed Project in Ventura.

RURAL DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS

For the Office of the Under Secretary for Rural Development, the House Appropriations Committee provides $636,000, the same as was provided in FY03, and $277,000 less than the amount requested by the Administration. The bill directs the Under Secretary to give consideration to several projects, including the following California projects:

– Central Coast Agritourism Council Program in San Luis Obispo and

Santa Barbara Counties;

– Sugarcane and Renewable Energy/Ethanol Project, Imperial Valley;

– Hi-Desert Regional Neonatal Medical Center;

– International Agri-Center in Tulare;

– Central Valley Applied Agricultural Technology Center;

– Farm to market road construction in Tulare County;

– Buckhorn Water Treatment Plant Replacement in Amador County;

– Phase II and Phase III rehabilitation of the San Jose Valley Domestic Water System and Cesar Chavez Education and Retreat Center;

– Westside Healthcare District in Taft;

– community youth center in Atascadero;

– medical facilities in the Tehachapi Valley Healthcare District in Kern County; and

– the Laytonville (CA) wastewater treatment project.

Rural Community Advancement Program

The bill provides a total funding level of $706 million for the Rural Community Advancement Program, of which $25,000,000 is set aside for water and waste disposal systems benefitting "Colonias" communities along the US-Mexico border.

DOMESTIC FOOD SERVICE

Child Nutrition Programs

The bill provides $11.418 billion in funding for the Child Nutrition Programs, which is an increase of $838.3 million above the amount available in FY 2003 and is the same amount as requested by the Bush Administration. Authorization for the Child Nutrition Programs expires on September 30, 2003. As of June 25, 2003, the House authorizing committee had not yet taken action on reauthorization, and thus the Committee and Administration’s proposals assume extension of current services into FY 2004.

Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

The Committee appropriates $4.588 billion in funding for the WIC program. The total amount appropriated is $108 million below the FY03 funding level, and $181 million less than the amount requested by the Administration.

Food Stamp Program

For the Food Stamp Program, the total provided in the bill is $27,745,981,000, which represents an increase of $1,432,289,000 over last year’s allocation.


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