Farm Bill update

The House Committee on Agriculture has made public the Chairman’s mark for the Federal Agricultural Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 (Farm Bill). That legislative language will be the base text at the committee mark up scheduled for 10:00 am Wednesday, May 15, 2013. (Senate markup is Tuesday.) The bill text is here (PDF)

We have reviewed the language and provide the following preliminary analysis, which again we must caution is subject to change during the committee markup and/or House floor debate. This analysis focuses primarily on Title VII of the bill, which provides basic statutory authorities for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).

Mandatory Funding

The House bill continues mandatory funding for three Title VII programs: (1) Organic Agriculture Research and Extension Initiative; (2) Specialty Crop Research Initiative; and (3) Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program. The Biomass R&D program and the Biodiesel Fuel Education Program are in the Energy Title (Title IX) of the bill and were reauthorized, but not provided mandatory funding as in the Senate bill:

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Programs with Mandatory Funding: FY 2014 to FY 2018 (All $M)

In addition to the amounts listed above, the bill also establishes a permanent budgetary baseline for the Specialty Crop Research Initiative for fiscal years beyond FY 2018. (This permanent baseline will be very important when the 2018 Farm Bill is developed.)

Reauthorization of Expiring Authorities

Many legislative authorities for NIFA’s research, extension, and higher education programs expire at the end of FY 2013 (Sept. 30, 2013). As mentioned in our last report, the APLU Board on Agriculture Assembly’s Committee on Legislation and Policy (CLP) has been communicating for over two years with both the Senate and House concerning these expiring provisions. Most of our reauthorization requests appear to have been favorably considered in the House bill.

Repeal of Existing Authorities

The House bill also affirmatively repeals many of the existing legislative authorities for NIFA’s research, extension, and higher education programs that have never received funding and/or are redundant to other authorities.

Presidential Budget Submission and Funding

Section 7513 of the House bill will require the President’s budget to include additional information regarding each funding request for research programs carried out by the Agricultural Research Service and the Economic Research Service, and each competitive program carried out by NIFA. The information will include baseline funding information, explanations justifying changes, location and staff years of the program, and other information as appropriate for each program. The programs may not be implemented unless this information is included in the President’s budget. In addition, the Secretary is required to submit an annual report to Congress containing a description of the agricultural research, extension, and


Section 4026 of the draft House bill will reduce the mandatory funds for the SNAP-Ed program from $401 million to $375 million for FY 2014.

Matching Funds Requirement

Section 7128 of the House bill will require recipients of most NIFA administered competitive grants to provide matching funds as a condition for receiving a grant. The matching funds requirement would not apply to land-grant institutions, ARS, or those entities which partner with the land-grant institutions.

Other Matters (including those that need continuing work)

  • Option To Be Included As Non-Land-Grant College of Agriculture. Section 7101 would permit certain universities to change their classification for program eligibility.
  • Veterinary Services Grant Program. Section 7104 would establish a competitive grant program to develop, implement, and sustain veterinary services.
  • Indirect Cost Recovery. The House bill as reported did not adjust the indirect cost limitation contained in existing law. (The limitation set in the 2008 Farm Bill is 22%.)
  • McIntire-Stennis. Changes were not included in the House bill (unlike the Senate bill).
  • Expanded eligibility for Children, Youth, and Families at Risk (CYFAR) and FRTEP. Not included in the House bill (unlike the Senate bill).

Important Note: All of the information contained in this report should be considered preliminary in nature. It is subject to amendment during the committee markup and consideration by the full House.

Provided by the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities