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Pingree Successfully Advocates for FY2020 Agriculture Appropriations Bill to Invest in Climate Research, Protect USDA’s Research Staff

Washington, June 4, 2019

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) today announced that the full House Appropriations Committee has approved a FY2020 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies spending bill that reverses the Trump administration’s proposed cuts to a range of USDA programs—including several tackling climate change and the unnecessary relocation of key research staff.

“As a member of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, I’m proud that we’ve rejected the Trump administration’s proposals to drastically cut funding for such important agencies and programs. Instead, this bill invests $1 billion more than the FY2019 budget in growing markets such as local and organic agriculture, preserves research staff for the USDA’s science-based programming, helps address climate change, and includes measures to curb food waste,” said Pingree. “This bill also highlights the ways that agriculture can play a role in mitigating climate change. It not only supports USDA’s Climate Hubs, it also encourages the agency to look at carbon markets in agriculture and provides additional support to farmers dealing with the effects of climate change. These steps are key in order to ensure farmers—who are on the front lines of this crisis—have resources to help curb greenhouse gases.”

 

Pingree is the sponsor of the Agriculture Research Integrity Act of 2019, which would ensure USDA research agencies, including the Economic Research Service (ERS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), stay in the national Capital region. H.R. 1221 would prevent Secretary Perdue’s proposed move of critical USDA research staff and prevent subject-matter experts from uprooting their lives or leaving their areas of expertise. 

As a member of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Pingree proudly advocated for the inclusion of the following funding items to support Maine’s farmers:

  • $23.4 million for Local Agriculture Market Program, which was authorized in the 2018 Farm Bill
  • $400,000 for the first Food Loss and Waste Reduction Liaison at USDA
  • $1 million for a new composting and food waste pilot
  • $18 million for National Organic Program, up from FY19 level of $12 million
  • Language to stop the NIFA/ERS relocation/reorganization
  • Language directing USDA to finalize the origin of organic livestock rule
  • $10 million for Healthy Food Financing Initiative, up from FY19 level of $1 million
  • $325 billion for Smith-Lever, which funds Cooperative Extension, up from FY19 level of $300 billion
  • $10 million for the Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach Program, which coordinates USDA training and outreach to beginning, veteran and socially disadvantaged farmers
  • Language urging the Secretary to explore carbon markets for agriculture and develop common, science-based methodologies for carbon markets.
  • Language directing USDA to conduct a survey of current programs that aid farmers in mitigating and adapting to the effects of climate change and identify opportunities to expand this work.

A summary of the bill is here. The text of the bill is here. The bill report is here.

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