Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin is highlighting legislation that has been signed into law by President Biden that supports our farmers, agriculture economy, and rural communities in Wisconsin. As Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies, Senator Baldwin worked to pass the Agriculture Appropriations bill which was included in the bipartisan Omnibus Appropriations Legislation for Fiscal Year 2022. The Fiscal Year 2022 Agriculture Appropriations bill provides discretionary funding of $25.125 billion, which is an increase of $1.075 billion above Fiscal Year 2021 enacted levels.
“The American people have faced enormous economic disruptions and challenges and we have shared responsibility to help with lower costs and economic support so we can all move forward together. More than 38 million people, including 12 million children, have struggled with food insecurity and we worked to pass federal funding legislation that secures new resources to help American families put food on the table and reduce childhood hunger. We worked to ensure that over 4 million low-income women and children do not see their support reduced at the end of April. We worked to increase funding for child nutrition programs and make sure schools can continue to serve healthy meals. And, we increased funding for the SNAP program which provides a lifeline to more than 40 million people every year,” said Senator Baldwin. “When people are facing challenging times it is important that we make sure they have the tools to move towards economic security. People in rural America face unique challenges to creating economic prosperity, and we worked to pass federal funding legislation that increases our investments in rural development. With investments in clean water infrastructure, additional funding to help bridge the digital divide in rural areas, and support to make housing more affordable, our legislation funding the government delivers results for rural communities across our country. We also got the job done to better support rural businesses and farmers so that we are strengthening our supply chain and building a stronger and more resilient agriculture economy.”
The Fiscal Year 2022 Agriculture Appropriations bill includes significant funding so that our farmers and ranchers have the tools to increase efficiency, reduce crop loss, and continue to be world leaders in productivity and sustainability. The bill also supports those living in rural America through increased funding for housing, utilities, and broadband. With increases for food safety, key nutrition programs, and the Food and Drug Administration, this bill ensures the nation’s food and medical supply remain safe and assists the most vulnerable among us.
- Research: All research programs saw at least as much funding as the previous year, and some saw sizable additional investments. The bill includes specific increases for the Agricultural Research Service for projects important to Wisconsin, including cover crops (+$3 million), cranberries (+$1.5 million), dairy forage (+$2.5 million), hemp cultivars (+$1.5 million), and pulse crops (+$500,000).
- Conservation: The bill includes $14 million for the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative. This program helps farmers who are interested in managed grazing to find the best approach for their operation.
- Rural Development: Historic increases are provided for the activities within Rural Development. This funding will assist rural Americans with increases for clean water and waste treatment systems, ensure low-income Americans continue to receive housing assistance, and deliver additional funding to help bridge the digital divide in rural areas.
o Rural Housing – The bill includes over $2 billion for the Rural Housing Service, an increase of $182 million over Fiscal Year 2021. Within these increases is $40 million for Rental Assistance. This increase is necessary to fund all expiring Fiscal Year 2022 contracts.
o Rural Business – Rural Business programs are funded at $131 million, an increase of $34 million over Fiscal Year 2021. The largest increase is for Business and Industry loans to assist businesses in rural areas and ensure they have access to affordable finance for long-term economic resilience.
o Rural Utilities – The Rural Utilities Service is funded at $1.237 billion, an increase of $482 million. The ReConnect broadband program receives total funding of $450 million. This is on top of the historic funding provided in the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.
- Nutrition: The bill focuses on increased funding for important nutrition programs, which help reduce child hunger, improve health outcomes in the crucial early years and assist families in their efforts to maintain stability in their households during these challenging times.
o Child Nutrition Programs – Child Nutrition Programs are funded at $26.8 billion, a 7 percent increase or $1.8 billion over Fiscal Year 2021. Included in this funding is $45 million for the Summer Electronic Benefit program and $30 million for school equipment grants. This funding will ensure schools can continue to serve healthy meals.
o Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – SNAP is funded at $140.4 billion, a 23 percent increase or $26 billion over Fiscal Year 2021. This increase will ensure participants receive increased benefits to support the Thrifty Food Plan as well as emergency allotments to continue to address the shockwaves from the pandemic.
o Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) – The WIC program is funded at $6 billion. This level will fully fund anticipated participation. The bill also includes authority for USDA to continue the Cash Value Voucher. This will ensure over 4 million low income women and children do not see their benefits reduced at the end of April.
- Food and Drug Administration (FDA): The FDA receives a $102 million increase over Fiscal Year 2021. This additional funding will goes towards food safety activities, medical product safety, infrastructure, and cross cutting initiatives. The legislation also includes an increase of $8 million to continue work at International Mail Facilities to combat the opioid crisis.
Priorities for Wisconsin
“I am very proud that our work together will make investments that support the Dairy Business Innovation Program, Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative, and research priorities for our dairy, specialty crop, and organic farmers. This appropriations legislation makes sure rural communities in Wisconsin are supported, and not left behind, as we work together to build a better America,” said Senator Baldwin.
The Agriculture Appropriations bill includes significant funding to address the challenges faced by Wisconsinites.
- UW-Madison–Plant Germplasm Research Facility: $39,700,000 for research facility investments to properly store germplasm materials of national significance and host world-class faculty, researchers, and tomorrow’s experts as they develop seeds and plant varieties that meet farmer needs, consumer demands, and the challenges of changing growing conditions.
- Dairy Business Innovation Initiative: $25 million is included for the Dairy Business Innovation Initiative with Wisconsin receiving a $1 million increase.
- Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative: $14 million for the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative, a key investment in the profitability of family farms and their long term economic stability.
- Community Facilities: $3.45 billion in loans and $239 million in grants are included for the construction and improvement of essential community facilities (e.g. hospitals, community centers, fire stations), including 8 projects totaling $17 million specifically set aside for Wisconsin.
Investing in a Strong Future for Wisconsin’s Agriculture Sector – The bill includes key investments in research and extension services for Wisconsin’s agriculture industry, and increases research funding for dairy, cranberries, potatoes, barley, pulses, and hemp. This research will be carried out in labs and hosted by farmers in fields across the state, and will be enhanced by the construction of a new nationally-significant research facility that will ensure world-class plant breeding and crop improvements continue to happen here in Wisconsin. This is a once-in-a-generation investment that will support the development of crop varieties farmers have asked for and that are adapted to their regions and changing growing conditions. Investments in research can help reduce the impact of disease and pests, increase plant efficiency, and save on water. This means less need for fertilizer and pesticides, which saves farmers money and decreases the impact of farming on the environment.
Support for Dairy Innovation and Rural Businesses – The bill includes $25 million for the Dairy Business Innovation Initiatives, which support dairy entrepreneurs and are helping Wisconsin dairy businesses to develop new markets, reduce costs, and support the local farm economy. The bill also includes more than $1.25 billion for low-cost financing resources for rural businesses to help keep costs low, so they can continue to invest in their communities and businesses.
Continuing our Rural Traditions with Community Investment – This bill includes key investments to help Wisconsin’s rural communities thrive. There are investments in housing, rural community facilities, business development, broadband, water and wastewater, and rural access to health care. For example, the bill provides $31 billion for low-income rural Americans to purchase their own home and $334 million to construct new multi-family rental units and repair existing aging facilities, ensuring the availability of affordable housing options. Additionally, the bill provides more than $2 billion in loans and grants to build and repair water and waste water treatment facilities and associated equipment to provide safe and clean drinking water for all rural Americans. These tools offer rural leaders resources to address the challenges their communities face and take advantage of opportunities to improve their local quality of life.
Clean Water, Healthy Land, Climate Leadership – With Senator Baldwin’s leadership, this bill makes important new investments in working lands conservation, to support the work our farmers and landowners are doing to protect water quality and sequester carbon. Specifically, $14 million is included for the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative, which will help farmers who want to get started grazing livestock, and $3 million is included to develop cover crop options that work financially for farmers while also building up soil health.
An online version of this release is available here.