Today, the House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Year (FY) 2023 Omnibus Appropriations Bill (H.R. 2617) by a vote 225 to 201. Yesterday, the Senate passed the legislation with 68 to 29 vote. The bill now goes before the President to be signed into law. The omnibus package includes several provisions supported by the National Association of Wheat Growers including disaster aid, the Growing Climate Solutions Act, pesticide reauthorization, and other items that support agriculture and rural America.
“We appreciate Congress coming together to pass the omnibus to fund the federal government for the rest of FY 2023. We are grateful to see $3.7 billion in disaster aid for the calendar year 2023 and the registration review deadline extensions for PRIA and FIFRA be included in this legislative package,” said NAWG CEO, Chandler Goule. “Throughout 2022, large areas across Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Colorado have been experiencing extreme to exceptional drought, according to the US Drought Monition, and the relief provided in the omnibus can help wheat growers with relief as they navigate these harsh weather conditions. Lastly, glad to see the Growing Climate Solutions Act be included in this year-end package, which NAWG has supported as it provides a credible source of information for growers looking to participate in voluntary carbon markets.”
Programs and funding that specifically benefit wheat growers include:
- Disaster Aid: The Disaster Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act includes $3.74 billion for crop and livestock losses in the calendar year 2022. In early December, NAWG and other commodity organizations requested disaster aid be included in a FY 2023 Omnibus package.
- Pesticides: The Pesticide Registration Improvement Act (PRIA) which allows pesticide registrants to pay registration fees to helps pesticides get through the registration process faster. The EPA’s Office of Pesticide Policy (OPP) also received $140 million, the highest funding since 2010. Finally, the Federal Insecticide, Rodenticide, and Fungicide Act (FIFRA) was amended to extend the deadline for EPA to conduct registration reviews of existing products.
- Growing Climate Solutions Act: The Growing Climate Solutions Act will provide growers with a resource for information on voluntary carbon markets and technical assistance providers and verifiers related to those market programs. In addition, an advisory committee at USDA, comprised of a majority of farmers, ranchers and forest landowners, will provide recommendations to the Secretary on the carbon markets and related work.
- Sponsoring USDA Sustainability Targets in Agriculture to Incentivize Natural Solutions (SUSTAINS) Act: The omnibus also includes SUSTAINS Act, which encourages private sector partnerships for agriculture sustainability by allowing businesses to invest in conservation practices in geographic regions of their choice—and allows for matching USDA funds.
- Research Programs: The bill provides $3.45 billion – $175 million above the fiscal year 2022 enacted level – for agriculture research programs, including the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
- Marketing Programs: The bill provides $237 million, $11 million above the fiscal year 2022 enacted level and $4.7 million above the request, to facilitate the movement of agriculture products and open market opportunities.
- International Food Assistance Programs: The bill includes $2.2 billion for international food aid and to promote U.S. agricultural exports overseas. This includes $1.75 billion for Food for Peace grants and $243 million for the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition program.
NAWG looks forward to working with Members of Congress to continue advocating for wheat growers across the nation. More details can be found in the summary document and the full bill can be found here.