Research and Extension fare well in Senate’s version of Farm Bill

The U.S. Senate passed its version of the Farm Bill on June 21  by a margin of 64 to 35.  As noted in this report from the Cornerstone Report from the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Research, Extension, and Related Matters (Title VII) fared very well, with just four amendments adopted:

  • Makes the District of Columbia eligible to participate in the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry program. Substitute amendment agreed to by unanimous consent (no separate vote on the DC / McIntire-Stennis provision).
  • Adds new, specific authority for corn, soybean meal, cereal grains, and grain byproducts research and extension for the purpose of carrying out or enhancing research to improve the digestibility, nutritional value, and efficiency of use of corn, soybean meal, cereal grains, and grain byproducts for the poultry and food animal production industries. Agreed to by voice vote.
  • Requires the Secretary of Agriculture, acting through the National Agricultural Library, to support the dissemination of objective, scholarly, and authoritative agricultural and food law research and information by entering into partnerships with institutions of higher education with the requisite expertise. Limits spending to $1,000,000 per year (of the amounts made available to the National Agricultural Library to carry out the section). Agreed to by voice vote.
  • Requires the Secretary of Agriculture to use such sums as necessary to make competitive grants to establish and improve farm safety programs at the local level. Eligible entities include: an agency of a state or political subdivision of a state; a national, state, or regional organization of agricultural producers; and any other entity determined appropriate by the Secretary. Agreed to by unanimous consent.

Mandatory Funding. The bill continues funding for three Title VII programs initiated in the 2008 Farm Bill: (1) Organic Agriculture Research and Extension; (2) Specialty Crops Research Initiative; and (3) Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development. The bill would also establish a new Foundation for Food & Agriculture Research and provide it with mandatory funding.