House committee bill decreases USDA funding

Spending bill would reduce funding for many programs and rescind unused pandemic-era funding

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

The bill, which now awaits consideration by the full House Appropriations Committee, would provide over $17 billion in funding for the USDA, the Food and Drug Administration and related agencies. This funding level is about $8.6 billion below the current fiscal year and $11.7 billion less than what the Administration requested. The bill would also redirect more than $ 8 billion in funding from unobligated balances from pandemic-era laws such as the Inflation Reduction Act and the American Rescue Plan.  

The Wildlife Society in April submitted its recommendations for FY 2024 agriculture program funding to the House and Senate appropriations committees. Those recommendations include an increase of funding for competitive grants at the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, such as the McIntire Stennis and Renewable Resources Extension Act programs, as well as for a variety of programs that provide funding for programs at minority-serving institutions.  

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture would face a decrease of $9.5 million under the bill, for an overall funding level of about $1.7 billion. The subcommittee’s bill also includes $1.1 billion for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, a decrease of $2.1 million from this year. TWS recommended small increases for both the Methods development and wildlife damage management line items within the APHIS budget for FY 2024.  

The bill would fund the Natural Resources Conservation Service at $911.4 million, a decrease of $29.7 million from the current year, and it would eliminate funding for equity initiatives and climate change programs within that agency. TWS recommended funding of $904 for Private Lands Conservation Operations within NRCS, an increase from the current year. 

The Senate Appropriations Committee is still developing its spending bill for FY 2024. It intends to hold markups in June. Fiscal Year 2024 begins Oct. 1. If the House and Senate cannot agree on spending levels by then, a continuing resolution maintaining current funding levels is likely. 

Read TWS’ FY2024 testimony on the Agriculture Budget 

Header Image: A spending bill passed by the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee would decrease funding for some programs and eliminate others altogether. Credit: USFWS