The Senate approved the Fiscal Year 2006 Agricultural Appropriations bill Thursday morning by a vote of 81 to 18. The measure passed in the House by a 318 to 63 and now heads to the President for his signature.
The conference report agreed on $17.1 billion in discretionary appropriations. This is up from last year's funding level of $16.83 billion and the President's request of $16.74 billion.
The bill approves an estimated $3.784 billion for farm loans, $66.8 million more than the fiscal year 2005 level. Included in this amount is $1.61 billion for farm ownership direct and guaranteed loans and $2.07 billion for farm operating direct and guaranteed loans.
Included in the bill, among other items, is a two-year delay in the implementation mandatory country-of-origin labeling. The Conference Report did not include a Senate provision that would have withdrawn USDA inspection of non-ambulatory livestock at processing facilities.
As completed, the measure included more than $28 million for the prevention, control, and eradication of avian influenza as well as $13.8 million for low path avian influenza pest and disease management. The bill notes that monies were carried over from last year and can be provided for indemnities as well.
The final measure included $90 million for Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) surveillance and prevention (the same as provide last year) as well as $29.5 million for agency-wide BSE control, research, and related activities.
Here is a summary of other funding levels:
- Agricultural research and extension programs are funded at $2.43 billion in FY 2006.
- Appropriations recommended for the Agricultural Research Service total $1.266 billion.
- For the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, $1.167 billion is recommended, including $676.8 million for research and education activities, $455.9 million for extension activities, and $55.8 million for integrated activities.
- The Animal Plant and Health Inspection Services is funded at $820.457 million.
- The Agricultural Marketing Service is funded at $75.376 million; the Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration is funded at $38.443 million.
- Conservation Service is $840 million, and increase of $72 million over the Presidentâ€™s request.
- Watershed and flood prevention operations is funded at $75 million.
- Watershed surveys and planning is funded at $6.1 million.
- The watershed rehabilitation program is at $31.6 million.
- The resource conservation and development program is funded at $51.2 million.