Cornerstone Report from Washington

Vol. 9, No. 15 – November 18, 2011

 

FY 2012 Agriculture Appropriations Bill Becomes Law – 99% of NIFA Top-Line Funding Sustained

 

The President has signed the Agriculture Appropriations bill for FY 2012 into law and, as promised in our last report, we are able to provide additional details about the final results for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). (The NIFA portion of the conference report is here: www.land-grant.org/NIFA_final.pdf )

99% of NIFA Top Line Sustained

As you know, the federal budgetary situation in 2011 has been extremely difficult and very intense. For starters, the FY 2011 appropriation for NIFA (and all other federal departments and agencies) was not finished until April 15, more than six months after the beginning of the fiscal year. The FY 2011 NIFA top-line amount of $1.215 billion was down $128 million compared to FY 2010, but the reduction was mostly attributable to the moratorium on congressionally-directed projects (earmarks). See: www.land-grant.org/reports/2011/04-15.htm.

 

We are pleased to report that the NIFA appropriation for FY 2012 is $1.202 billion or 99% of the FY 2011 top-line appropriation. Moreover, all seven priorities established by the Board on Agriculture Assembly’s Budget and Advocacy Committee (BAC) were funded at (or in the case of Smith-Lever slightly above) their FY 2011 enacted levels. (Highlighted in Green in Table 1.)

 

Individual Funding Line Details

As shown in Table 1, the joint House-Senate conference committee that negotiated the final version of the FY 2012 Agriculture Appropriations bill maintained most NIFA programs at/near FY 2011 funding levels with the following notable exceptions:

Research and Education Activities

§ Special Research Grants increased by $1.162M

§ Animal Health and Disease Research grew by $1.056M

§ The Multicultural Scholars, Graduate Fellowship, and Institution Challenge Grant Programs were combined into a single line and funding for that combined line dropped by $1.732M

§ There was no funding included for the “New Era Rural Technology Program”

§ Federal Administration grants dropped by $0.730M

§ Two new programs were funded: (1) Capacity Building for Non Land-Grant Colleges received $4.500M; and (2) Competitive Grants for Policy Research received $4.000M

Extension Activities

§ The Farm Safety & Youth Farm Safety Education programs were combined into a single funding line and funding for the combined line was cut by $0.728M

§ eXtension was reduced by $0.197M

§ Children, Youth and Families at Risk was cut by $0.795M

§ Renewable Resources Extension Act was reduced by $0.360M

§ Rural Health and Safety Education was cut by $0.235M

§ Grants to Youth Organizations was cut by $1.030M

§ Federal Administration Grants were cut by $0.696M

Integrated Activities

§ Funding was eliminated for: (1) Food Safety;  and (2) International Science and Education Grants

§ Water Quality was cut by $4.482M

§ Regional Pest Management Centers received an increase of $1.006M

 

Table 1. National Institute of Food and Agriculture

Final House-Senate Conference Agreement vs. FY 2011

     

(All $Millions)

     
 

FY 2011

 

FY 2012

Research and Education Activities

Enacted

 

Final

Hatch Act

236.334

 

236.334

McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry

32.934

 

32.934

Evans-Allen Program

50.898

 

50.898

Agriculture and Food Research Initiative

264.470

 

264.470

Improved Pest Control

16.153

 

15.830

Special Research Grants

2.838

 

4.000

Animal Health and Disease Research

2.944

 

4.000

1994 Institutions Research Program

1.801

 

1.801

Joe Skeen Institute for Rangeland Research

0.981

 

0.961

Multicultural Scholars, Graduate Fellowship and Institution Challenge Grants*

10.732

 

9.000

Hispanic -Serving Institutions Education Grants

9.219

 

9.219

Secondary and two-year Post Secondary Program

0.981

 

0.900

Capacity Building for 1890 Institutions

19.336

 

19.336

Payments to the 1994 Institutions

3.335

 

3.335

Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions

3.194

 

3.194

Resident Instruction Grants for Insular Areas

0.898

 

0.900

Distance Education Grants for Insular Areas

0.749

 

0.750

Farm Business Management and Benchmarking Program

1.497

 

1.450

Sun Grant Program

2.246

 

2.200

New Era Rural Technology Program

0.873

   

Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program

4.790

 

4.790

Federal Administration

11.230

 

10.500

Supplemental and Alternative Crops

0.833

 

0.825

Aquaculture Centers

3.920

 

3.920

Critical Agricultural Materials Act

1.081

 

1.081

Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education

14.471

 

14.471

Capacity Building for Non Land-Grant Colleges

   

4.500

Competitive Grants for Policy Research

 

 

4.000

Subtotal

698.739

 

705.599

*Consolidates three related funding lines

     
 

FY 2011

 

FY 2012

Extension Activities

Enacted

 

Final

Smith Lever Sections 3(b) and 3(c)

293.911

 

294.000

Smith Lever Section 3(d):

     

Farm Safety & Youth Farm Safety Education**

5.338

 

4.610

Food and Nutrition Education (EFNEP)

67.934

 

67.934

Federally Recognized Tribal Extension Program

3.039

 

3.039

New Technologies for Ag Extension (eXtension)

1.747

 

1.550

Pest Management

9.918

 

9.918

Sustainable Agriculture Programs

4.696

 

4.696

Children, Youth and Families at Risk

8.395

 

7.600

Cooperative Extension at 1890 Institutions

42.592

 

42.592

Facility Improvements at 1890 Institutions

19.730

 

19.730

Renewable Resources Extension Act

4.060

 

3.700

Rural Health and Safety Education

1.735

 

1.500

Extension Services at 1994 Institutions

4.312

 

4.312

Food Animal Residue Avoidance Database

0.998

 

1.000

Grants to Youth Organizations

1.780

 

0.750

Women and Minorities in STEM fields

0.399

 

0.400

Federal Administration

8.548

 

7.852

Subtotal

479.132

 

475.183

** Consolidates two related funding lines

     
 

FY 2011

 

FY 2012

Integrated Activities

Enacted

 

Final

Water Quality

8.982

 

4.500

Food Safety

10.978

   

Regional Pest Management Centers

2.994

 

4.000

Methyl Bromide Transition Program

1.996

 

1.996

Organic Transition Program

3.992

 

4.000

International Science and Education Grants Program

0.998

   

Regional Rural Development Centers

0.998

 

0.998

Food and Agriculture Defense Initiative

5.988

 

5.988

Subtotal

36.926

 

21.482


NOTE: Green Highlighted Lines are BAC’s Priority Funding Lines.

 

Programs with Mandatory Funding

As shown in Table 2, the four NIFA programs with mandatory funding (not subject to annual appropriations) were not reduced by the conference agreement. Thus, these four programs will receive a total of $129 million in funding. (Note: FY 2012 is the last year for mandatory funding for these programs under the 2008 Farm Bill.)

 



 

Table 2. No Reductions to NIFA’s Mandatory Funding Lines

 

Mandatory Program

FY 2012 Authorized

FY 2012 Final

Organic Agriculture Research / Extension

20,000,000

20,000,000

Specialty Crop Research Initiative

50,000,000

50,000,000

Beginning Farmer & Rancher Development

19,000,000

19,000,000

Biomass R&D

40,000,000

40,000,000

TOTAL

$129,000,000

$129,000,000


Other Matters

In addition to the results reported above, the final conference agreement: (1) increases the indirect cost recovery rate for NIFA’s competitive programs to 30% (up from 22% in FY 2011); and (2) continues to permit the use of unrecovered indirect costs to “count” against the matching requirements of the Specialty Crop Research Initiative.

Finally, the following report language contained in the conference report and agreed to on a bicameral/bipartisan basis, gives a strong indication of congressional interest with respect to: (1) research priorities (AFRI); and (2) NIFA funding line consolidation:

“The conferees express their strong support for USDA’s agricultural research, extension and education activities. USDA and other notable philanthropic and scientific organizations have highlighted the need for the United States to invest in agricultural research to ensure productivity growth and to develop and refine sound natural resources management practices for U.S. farmers and ranchers and others around the world. However, the conferees are aware of concerns about the focus of USDA’s research programs, particularly projects funded through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. The conferees strongly encourage USDA to fund only the highest priority agricultural research, as authorized by Congress.”

*    *    *
“The conferees request that the Department make recommendations regarding the consolidation of funding lines in the National Institute of Food and Agriculture’s accounts in the President’s budget for fiscal year 2013 and to work with interested individuals and organizations, including the House Committee on Agriculture and the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry, on this issue.”
 

The Bottom Line

Despite a very difficult budgetary year, the land-grant system rose to the challenge and protected most of the gains that it worked so hard to achieve over the last decade. Final results are summarized in Chart 1.

 

Chart 1: NIFA Top Line (Including Mandatory Funding) FY 2002 to FY 2012

 

In closing, we want to once again express sincere thanks for the tremendous support that the whole system has provided this year. The collective ability to “hold the line” simply would not have been possible otherwise!

 

The Cornerstone Team