from Senator Thad Cochran’s press release on July 18, 2017


WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies today approved a $145.4 billion appropriations bill to support federal agriculture and nutrition programs in FY2018.

The FY2018 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Appropriations Bill will be considered Thursday by the Senate Committee on Appropriations. The Senate legislation recommends $145.4 billion in discretionary and mandatory funding, $4.85 billion above the President’s budget request and $7.9 billion below the FY2017 enacted level. The discretionary funding in the bill totals $20.525 billion, $352 million below the FY2017 enacted level. Mandatory funding in the bill totals $124.9 billion.

This appropriations bill supports U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) agriculture, rural development, conservation programs, and food and drug safety. It also provides essential nutrition assistance for children, families and seniors. The measure also creates incentives for military veterans to enter careers in agriculture.

“We worked hard to maintain our agriculture budget and ensure that this legislation provides our farmers, ranchers and rural communities with the support they need to meet challenges from low commodity prices to natural disasters,” said U.S Senator John Hoeven (R- N.D.), chairman of the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee.

“This legislation maintains a robust safety net and rejects cuts to crop insurance and commodity programs. We also make strong investments in farm service programs, agricultural research and rural development programs to help make our agricultural communities strong and vibrant,” Hoeven said.

Bill Highlights:

Agricultural Research – $2.55 billion to support agricultural research conducted by the Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. This amount includes $375 million for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, maintaining the increase provided in FY2017. Formula research funding for land-grant universities is maintained at FY2017 enacted levels. The bill also rejects proposed extramural research project terminations and laboratory closures included in the budget request.

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) – $953.2 million for APHIS, $143.2 million above the budget request and $7 million above the FY2017 enacted level. Overall funding will continue programs to control or eradicate plant and animal pests and diseases that threaten U.S. agriculture production. The bill maintains investments included in FY2017 for emergency preparedness/response for disease outbreaks and workforce development for the National Bio and Agro-Defense Facility. Increases are provided to address wildlife damage management issues and tree pests.

Natural Resources Conservation Service – $874.1 million, $9.6 million above the FY2017 enacted level and $108.1 million over the budget request, for conservation operations to help farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners conserve and protect their land. The bill also includes $150 million for the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations program to support needed investments in rural communities.

Farm Service Agency (FSA) – $1.521 billion for FSA for various farm, conservation, and emergency loan programs important to the nation’s farmers and ranchers. It prohibits the closure of FSA county offices, and provides resources for personnel and physical security programs across county offices.

Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) – $1.038 billion, $6 million above the FY2017 enacted level and consistent with the budget request, for food safety and inspection programs that work to ensure safe, healthy food for American families. The bill promotes the safety and productivity of the nation’s $186 billion meat and poultry industry by supporting more than 8,000 frontline inspection personnel for meat, poultry, and egg products at more than 6,400 facilities in the United States. The bill provides full funding for FSIS to implement Siluriformes fish and fish product inspection.

Rural Development – $675.3 million for Rural Development salaries and expenses, the same level as FY2017.

 Rural Housing Loans and Rental Assistance – $24 billion in loan authority for the Single Family Housing guaranteed loan program, equal to the FY2017 enacted level and the President’s request. It includes $1 billion for the direct loan program, which provides low-income rural families with home loan assistance. In addition, $1.345 billion is provided for rental assistance for rental assistance for affordable rental housing for low- income families and the elderly in rural communities for renewal of all existing rental assistance contracts.

  •   Business and Industry Loans – The legislation supports $1 billion in grants and loans for rural business and industry programs that promote small business growth in rural areas. The bill includes funding for the Healthy Food Financing Initiative to improve access to affordable, healthy foods in underserved areas.
  •   Rural Utilities – $1.25 billion for rural water and waste program loans, the same as the FY2017 enacted level; $394 million for water and waste grants, and $18 million for the Circuit Rider program. The bill also provides $6.94 billion for rural electric and telephone infrastructure loans and $30 million for broadband grants.Food and Drug Administration (FDA) – $2.8 billion in discretionary funding for the FDA, $1 million over the FY2017 enacted level. Overall, total FDA funding, including user fee revenues, is $5.2 billion, which is $491 million above FY2017. The bill does not support new user fees or the associated cuts to budget authority as proposed in the budget request. Food safety activities are fully supported, and the bill provides $60 million as authorized in the 21st Century Cures Act.Food and Nutrition Programs – The bill provides discretionary funding, as well as mandatory funding required by law, for food and nutrition programs within the USDA. This includes funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and the Child Nutrition programs.
  •   Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) – $6.35 billion in discretionary funding for WIC, which is level with the FY2017 enacted level. This amount is based on USDA estimates of WIC enrollments and will not prevent eligible participants from receiving benefits.
  •   Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – $73.612 billion in required mandatory spending, which is outside the discretionary funding jurisdiction of the Senate Appropriations Committee, for SNAP. Due to declining enrollments, this is $4.868 billion below last year’s level.
  •   Child Nutrition Programs – $24.243 billion in required mandatory funding, which is outside the discretionary funding jurisdiction of the Senate Appropriations Committee, for child nutrition programs. This funding will provide meals for an estimated 30.1 million participants, 22 million of which qualify for free or reduced-priced meals. In addition, $53 million in discretionary program funds is also included for equipment grants and the Summer EBT Demonstration.International Programs – $1.6 billion for Food for Peace grants, which support the delivery of American-grown food to foreign countries experiencing chronic hunger crises. The McGovern- Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program is funded at $206.62 million, and includes $15 million for the Local and Regional Food Aid Procurement at the Foreign Agriculture Service.



Does the meat Industry want to SLAUGHTER wild horses?

Read what the Pro-Slaughter advocates say about wild horses below. They are publishing this in pork industry publications!

Meat of the Matter: Wild and worrisome

Time for a brief quiz.

Question 1): How many wild horses and burros are currently roaming across the Western rangelands?

Question 2: How many wild horse and burros are adopted by private citizens each year?

Question 3): Absent “control measures,” how long does it take for the population of wild horses and burros to double in numbers?

Answers: 1). 67,000. 2). 2,500. 3). Four years.

In other words, each year there are thousands more of these feral animals being added to what is already an overpopulation across the semi-arid rangelands of Nevada, California, Utah and several other Western states.

In fact, the Bureau of Land Management announced last week that as of this March, there an estimated 67,000 wild horses and burros in the West public rangelands, which is a 15% increase over the estimated 2015 population.

The updated data are more than twice the number of horses on the range than is recommended under BLM land-use plans. It is also two and a half times the number of horses and burros that were estimated to be in existence when the Wild and Free Roaming Horses and Burros Act was passed 45 years ago in 1971.

“Over the past seven years we have doubled the amount of funding used for managing our nation’s wild horses and burros,” Neil Kornze, BLM Director, said in a statement. “Despite this, major shifts in the adoption market and the absence of a long-term fertility control drug have driven population levels higher.”

The major shift to which Kornze referred is a dramatic decrease in adoptions of wild horses, due to economics and other factors — ie, the fact that the wild mustangs, in particular, don’t adapt well to life in a stable.

Here’s the problem: The lifetime cost of caring for an unadopted horse removed from the range approaches $50,000 per animal. With 46,000 horses and burros already residing in off-range corrals and pastures, this means that without some way to place these animals with willing owners, BLM will spend more than a billion dollars to care for and feed them over the rest of their lives.

And there are plenty more where the current ones came from.

As The New York Times phrased the situation in a lengthy article two years ago, “There are now twice as many wild horses in the West as federal land managers say the land can sustain. The program that manages them has broken down, and unchecked populations pose a threat to delicate public land, as well as the ranches that rely on it.”

And the situation has only worsened since then.

A question of numbers

Keep in mind that the population of wild horses and burros affects not just agency budgets and wildlife populations, but impacts a significant economic and cultural resource: the grasslands of the West. When deer populations exceed their rural habitats east of the Mississippi, there is property damage and traffic accidents for suburban and rural residents to contend with, but there is far less impact on agriculture.

Not so out West. There simply isn’t carrying capacity for ever-expanding herds of horse and burros, while at the same time maintaining the grazing rights of ranchers and conserving the limited supply of grassland and water resources.

BLM officials are trying to address the challenge on a number of fronts, including:

  • Sponsoring research on fertility control, which to date is neither effective nor inexpensive
  • Transitioning horses from off-range corrals to lower cost pastures, which at best may offer modest mitigation of the cost burden
  • Working to increase adoptions with new programs and partnerships, which won’t even get the populations stabilized at the levels of 10 or 15 years ago, when horse adoptions were far more popular

None of those measures — even in combination — will be enough, however, and so the agency announced in a statement that it would request two new pieces of legislation: One to permit the transfer of horses to other agencies that have a need for work animals; and another that would create a congressionally chartered foundation to help fund and support adoption efforts.

Unfortunately, all the money in the world can’t turn adoption in to a sustainable solution. Wild mustangs and feral burros make lousy pets and equally undesirable work animals. It’s one thing to “domesticate” bison, another “wild” species dependent on rangelands. The time, trouble and expense of keeping them corralled represents an investment recouped by selling the meat and hides, whereas the only reason to keep horses around these days is to ride them, either for pleasure, for racing or for equestrian competition.

Most wild horses are highly unsuited to all of the above.

As is true with any invasive species, the spectrum of control measures starts out with the least intrusive, most humane interventions. But unless such a limited strategy actually works, efforts must be ramped up — all the way to forcible population control.

I’ve yet to hear from any activist with a better solution.

Or one with an extra billion they’d like to donate to the cause.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Dan Murphy, a veteran food-industry journalist and commentator. Cross-posted for education and discussion from PorkNetwork

Protect Mustangs is an organization who protects and preserves native and wild horses.

Stop the horrors against America’s native wild horses


What happens to wild horses who are snatched off the range and torn from their families in the American West?

Often they are “sold” to kill buying middle men either at auctions or through the federal sale program allowed by The Burns Amendment. Then they are trucked to Canada or Mexico and cruelly slaughtered or flown live to Asia to be butchered there.

Sometimes icons of the West end up on someone’s dinner plate in countries like Japan.

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