Senate Appropriations Process Inches Forward, Missing Key Land Access Provision


On November 10th, the Senate Appropriations Committee released their draft of the Fiscal Year 2021 agriculture spending bill. In a departure from the standard process, these bills will not be amended, or “marked up” by the Appropriations Committee or by the full Senate. Rather, these bills will serve as a starting point for negotiations with the House, which passed its appropriations bills several months ago. 

Disappointingly, the Senate draft does not include funding or language in support of the Tenure, Ownership, and Transition of Agricultural Land (TOTAL) Survey, which gathers data to understand land access and transition trends, as well as understanding the incidences of heirs property on agricultural land. Young Farmers urges Congress to include House language highlighting this survey in the final appropriations bill. 

Of the National Young Farmers Coalition’s priorities, the Senate appropriations does include: 

  • $5 million in funding for Farming Opportunity Training and Outreach (FOTO) Program, to be split evenly between its two parts, the Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program (BFRDP) and the Outreach and Assistance to Socially Disadvantaged and Veteran Farmers and Ranchers Program.
    This is equal to the amount included in the House bill.
  • $2 million for the Office of Urban Agriculture.
    This is $5 million less than the amount included in the House bill, and $4 million less than requested by the Coalition.
  • $18 million for the National Organic Program.
    This is equal to the amount included in the House bill.
  • $832 million for Conservation Operations, including funding for conservation technical assistance.
    This is $1 million less than the amount included in the House bill. 
  • $10 million funding for the Farm and Ranch Stress Assistance Network (FRSAN) to fund mental health services for farmers.
    This is equal to the amount included in the House bill.
  • $12 million for the Value Added Producer Grant (VAPG) program, but no additional funding for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP).
    The funding for VAPG is equal to the House bill, but the House bill also included $8 million in funding for FMLFPP.

 

Next Steps 

As noted above, the House and Senate must now confer to pass their final funding bills–or, if they can’t come to agreement, pass a continuation of current funding–in order to avoid a government shutdown after December 11th. Read more about our priorities for the final bill here

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