Dear Chairs Granger and Murray, Vice Chair Collins, and Ranking Member DeLauro:
As Congress develops fiscal year 2024 (FY24) appropriations legislation, the Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA) encourages you to prioritize U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA) programs that support our industries’ efforts to reduce GHG emissions and build climate-resilient landscapes. FACA’s 80+ members represent farmers, ranchers, forest owners, agribusinesses, manufacturers, the food and innovation sector, state governments, higher education associations, sportsmen and sportswomen, and environmental advocates. Our organizations have come together to advance climate solutions across the food, agriculture, and forestry supply chains.
For FY24, FACA respectfully requests robust funding and additional resources for the following programs:
1. $5,000,000 for FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine to expedite animal feed ingredient reviews and approvals.
Enteric methane inhibiting products that have climate benefits are a promising tool to address enteric emissions in ruminants. However, on average, it takes three to five years to get an animal food ingredient reviewed by FDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM), according to a study conducted by Informa Economics. The resulting delay and associated expenses with the current review process has hindered innovation. For FY24, FACA requests at least $5,000,000 for CVM to conduct animal food ingredient reviews. This funding should be used to hire more staff, improve infrastructure, and provide necessary IT assistance. We were pleased to see funding for this purpose included in the President’s FY24 Budget and encourage the Committee to provide CVM with the necessary resources to review these innovative products.
2. $30,000,000 for the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative.
The Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI) supports voluntary efforts to improve the management, productivity, and health of the Nation’s privately owned grazing lands. Additional funding is necessary to meet a growing unmet need for technical advisory services to grazing lands managers and landowners in response to changing climatic conditions and supply chain pressures. FACA requests a $30,000,000 appropriation for FY24, building on the $14,000,000 provided in the FY23 omnibus. In addition, FACA submits the following report language:
Conservation of Private Grazing Lands. The Committee supports the Grazing Lands Conservation Initiative (GLCI) and recognizes the importance of collaborative technical assistance to help farmers and ranchers effectively manage grazing lands to protect water quality, improve soil health and biodiversity, sequester carbon in the soil, and increase resilience and producer profitability. The Committee directs NRCS to allocate GLCI funds through competitive grants and cooperative agreements to support partnerships that address unique grazing lands needs at the local, state, and regional levels. GLCI partnership agreements may provide grazing lands conservation technical services for grazing planning and implementation, workshops and demonstrations, peer-to-peer education and support for producer networks, conferences, and producer outreach. The Committee further directs USDA to report annually to the House and Senate Committee on Appropriations and the House and Senate Agriculture Committees on outcomes of GLCI-funded projects and programs.
3. $50,000,000 for the Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority.
The 2018 Farm Bill established the Agriculture Advanced Research and Development Authority (AgARDA) to foster multi-year, advanced research, development, and technology transfer initiatives. AgARDA follows the “advanced research projects agency” (ARPA) model utilized by the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Health to accelerate development of breakthrough technologies necessary to address extreme weather variability, disease and pest management, soil health, and water conservation. For FY24, FACA requests funding AgARDA at the authorized level of $50,000,000. Robust investment in agricultural research is vital to enhance climate resiliency.
4. Increased funding for the Research Facilities Act.
A 2021 report determined 70% of research facilities at U.S. public colleges of agriculture are at the end of their useful life with $11.5 billion in deferred maintenance and $38 billion in replacement cost. The report also acknowledged that $550 million annually is needed just to keep up with facilities challenges. Increased funding for the Research Facilities Act (RFA) will allow for construction of modern facilities at colleges of agriculture that support agricultural research. These new facilities will dramatically increase the quality of pest and disease preparedness in the face of climate change and new solutions for pivoting to address pressures from extreme weather events across the nation. The RFA is open to a diversity of National Institute of Food and Agriculture capacity supported colleges of agriculture.
5. $32.197 million for the Forest Inventory and Analysis program.
The USDA’s Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program within the Forest Service represents the only source of forest data and analysis that is national in scope and consistent in measurements. Accurate measurements and easily accessible data and analysis are critical for the U.S. to measure its progress on reducing CO2 emissions and support existing and expanding market opportunities for forests and forest products. For FY24, FACA requests no less than $32.197 million in funding for FIA, maintaining FY23 funding levels. Additionally, of the amount allocated for Salaries and Expenses in Forest and Rangeland Research, we urge Congress to direct $54.9 million for the FIA program to provide consistency and staffing across the program.
We thank you for your consideration of these requests and look forward to working with your Committees to ensure robust funding for these critical programs.
The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance
The Honorable Andy Harris, Chair, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration
The Honorable Sanford Bishop, Ranking Member, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration
The Honorable Martin Heinrich, Chair, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
The Honorable John Hoeven, Ranking Member, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
The Honorable Mike Simpson, Chair, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
The Honorable Chellie Pingree, Ranking Member, House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
The Honorable Jeff Merkley, Chair, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies
The Honorable Lisa Murkowski, Ranking Member, Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies