Agriculture funding bill passes House committee

The bill would reduce funding for many programs

The U.S. House of Representatives Appropriations Committee has passed a bill to fund the Agriculture Department in Fiscal Year 2024. The proposed bill would reduce spending on many agriculture programs, including conservation and wildlife-related programs.

The spending bill would provide a total of $25.3 billion for the USDA, the Food and Drug Administration and related agencies, including $17.8 billion in discretionary funding and $7.5 billion that is redirected from unobligated balances from pandemic-era laws such as the Inflation Reduction Act and the American Rescue Plan. That funding level would be $532 million below the current fiscal year and $3.6 billion less than what the administration requested for FY 2024.

In April, The Wildlife Society submitted its recommendations for FY 2024 funding levels for agriculture programs to the House and Senate appropriations committees. Those recommendations are summarized in the chart below.

The House bill includes $149.5 million for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service Wildlife Services program, an increase of $1.3 million from this year. The program resolves human-wildlife conflicts and protects wildlife, agriculture and human health and safety from wildlife damage and wildlife-borne diseases.

Funding for Wildlife Services’ Method Development program would decrease slightly, from $26.2 million to $24.9 million. Its Wildlife Damage Management program, however, would receive a $2.5 million increase under the bill, bringing funding to $125.6 million. TWS recommended small increases for both programs, to bring funding to $27 million and $123 million, respectively.

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) would face a decrease of $9.5 million under the bill, for an overall funding level of about $1.7 billion. Within NIFA, TWS recommended funding the McIntire-Stennis Cooperative Forestry program at $43 million. The bill would provide $38 million, the same as in FY 2024. TWS also recommended funding the Renewable Resources Extension Act at $10 million. The bill would provide $4 million, also level funding.

TWS recommended small increases for the Hispanic Serving Institutions Education Partnerships Grants Program, the Alaska Native Serving and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions Education Grants and the 1890 Institutions Centers of Excellence. Those programs would all receive level funding under the bill. See the chart below for details.

The House bill would also eliminate funding for equity initiatives and climate change programs within the Natural Resources Conservation Service, and it would decrease funding for that agency by $29.7 million from the current year, for a total of $911.4 million.

The House agriculture funding bill now awaits a vote on the House floor, possibly in combination with other spending bills. The Senate Appropriations Committee is currently drafting its FY 2024 spending bills.

Fiscal Year 2024 begins Oct. 1. If the House and Senate cannot agree on spending levels by that date, a continuing resolution, maintaining current funding levels, is likely.

Read TWS’ FY2024 testimony on the Agriculture Budget.

AgencyProgramFY2023 EnactedFY2024 TWS RecommendationFY2024 House Bill
APHIS/Wildlife ServicesWildlife Damage Management$122 M$123 M$125.6 M
Methods Development$26.2 M$27 M$24.9 M
NIFA/Formula GrantsRREA$4 M$10 M$4 M
McIntire-Stennis$38 M$43 M$38 M
NIFA/Minority-Serving Institution programsHispanic Serving Institutions Education Partnerships Grants Program$16 M$20 M$16 M
Alaska Native Serving and Native Hawaiian-Serving Institutions Education Grants$5 M$6 M$5 M
1890 Institutions Centers of Excellence$10 M$11 M$10 M
NRCSPrivate Lands Conservation Operations$827 M$904 M$776.9 for technical assistance (part of PLCO)

Header Image: A spending bill passed by the House Appropriations Committee would decrease funding for several programs in Fiscal Year 2024. Credit: USDA