Washington, D.C. (December 22, 2020) – On December 21, 2020, the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate passed H.R. 133, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, sending it to the President’s desk for his signature. The legislation includes all 12 fiscal year 2021 appropriations bills, $900 billion in coronavirus relief, and authorizations. NAWG President and Cass City, MI wheat farmer Dave Milligan made the following statement in response:
“The FY 2021 Omnibus and COVID-19 relief package includes many wins for America’s wheat farmers. Several funding requests for NAWG’s and the National Wheat Improvement Committee (NWIC)’s research priorities were met. The bill includes at least level funding for several USDA Agriculture Research Service (ARS) activities including small grains genomics, the National Predictive Modeling Tool Initiative, resilient dryland farming, the soft white wheat falling numbers test, and the U.S. Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative. It also includes funding for work being done by the Wheat Genetics Resource Center housed in Kansas.
“More broadly, the bill also contains $259 million for the Hatch Act, $435 million Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), and $315 million for Smith-Lever, which are key pots of funding for our Land Grants and Extension Service, and for competitive grant research.
“The FY2021 Agriculture Appropriations piece also grants an additional $1.5 billion for disaster assistance programs to help USDA finish payments through WHIP+ and for WHIP+ quality losses.
“NAWG also appreciates the additional COVID-19 relief funding for agricultural producers. Additional assistance through the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), along with provisions clarifying the deductibility of PPP, among other provisions will serve as important resources for farmers economically impacted by COVID-19.
“And finally, we also applaud Congress for including the Water Resources Development Act of 2020, which provides critical infrastructure improvements to keep the flow of grain moving.”