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Conn. Benefits from Agriculture – FDA Appropriations Bill

June 19, 2009
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Congresswoman Rosa L. DeLauro (Conn.-3) praised the fiscal year 2010 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration Appropriations Bill and the goals it strives to accomplish – strengthening rural America, protecting public health, improving nutrition for more Americans, transforming our energy future, supporting conservation, investing in research, and finally, enhancing oversight.

Additionally, DeLauro announced the inclusion of significant funding for agricultural research in Connecticut. The bill – approved Thursday [18 June] evening by the House Appropriations Committee – is at the start of the legislative process for approving the annual appropriations bills. Next steps include consideration by the House of Representatives, the Senate, and after it is approved by both chambers, signed into law by the President.

“I am proud of this bill and the goals it strives to accomplish – protecting public health, supporting American agriculture, strengthening rural communities and conserving the environment,” said DeLauro. “After years of underinvestment in the federal government’s capabilities, I believe the Administration’s budget demonstrates that it is interested in supporting each of these key goals. And with this bill, the Committee proposes new investments in those priorities and the agencies that can help us meet the federal government’s obligation to its citizens – assuming responsibility again for the things we are supposed to get right.”

“Connecticut continues to be at the forefront of agricultural research because of our institutions of higher learning and the Agricultural Experiment Station. With this funding we will continue to advance research on critical issues such as West Nile Virus and Lyme disease that will bring us closer to easing these agricultural concerns.”

This bill provides $20.4 billion for the Department of Agriculture – $2 billion above 2009; $2.35 billion for the Food and Drug Administration – $298.6 million above 2009; and $160.6 million for the Commodity Future Trading Commission - $14.6 million above 2009. It also includes proposed cuts totaling more than $721 million.

KEY INVESTMENTS

PROTECTING PUBLIC HEALTH

Provides the Food and Drug Administration: $2.995 billion, the same as the President’s request and $373 million over 2009, to help FDA improve the safety of domestic and imported food and medical products; and the Food Safety and Inspection Service: $1.018 billion, the same as the President’s request and $47 million over 2009, for inspection of meat, poultry and egg products, helping to ensure the safety of these products.

HELPING THOSE HIT HARDEST BY THE ECONOMIC CRISIS

Nutrition for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): $7.541 billion, $236 million below the President’s request and $$681 million over 2009, to provide proper nutrition to mothers and their children. The bill provides funding to help up to an additional 700,000 women, infants, and children, brining WIC participation to over ten million people. It also sets aside $125 million for the upcoming WIC reauthorization, including a number of program improvements such as: increasing fruit and vegetable vouchers, supporting management information systems, implementing the electronic benefit transfer system, and expanding breast feeding peer counseling program.

Commodity Supplemental Food Program: $180 million, $17 million over the President’s request and $19.6 million over 2009, to provide nutritious food to over a half million low-income women, infants, children, and elderly citizens struggling with rising food costs. In order to ensure that more families receive the support they need during this period of economic stress, the bill also provides funding to expand this critical assistance in 32 current states and in 6 new states with USDA-approved feeding plans. These new states are: Arkansas, Oklahoma, Delaware, Utah, New Jersey, Georgia.

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): $61.352 billion, the same as the President’s request and $7.383 billion over 2009. Funding is included for an initiative to increase elderly participation. Roughly 30 percent of eligible seniors participate in SNAP.

International Food Aid (P.L. 480 Title II and McGovern-Dole): $1.69 billion, as requested, and $464 million above 2009, for the P.L. 480 Title II Grants Program to meet emergency and nonemergency humanitarian feeding needs in countries stricken with natural disasters and political strife. And $199.5 million for the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, the same as requested and $99.5 million above 2009, to support education, child development, and food security for some of the world’s poorest children.

REINVESTING IN RURAL AMERICA

Agricultural Research: $1.19 billion, $37 million above the President’s request and $3 million above 2009, for the Agricultural Research Service – critical to maintaining our role as a global leader we must maintain our lead in crop development, competitiveness, international trade, nutrition research, food safety and even homeland security.

Connecticut research projects are among those funded through this program, including the University of Connecticut’s research into Cattle as a Model for Therapeutical Cloning Research – bovine genetics research aimed at developing technologies to improve the efficiency of farm animal cloning and normal development – and the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station research into biological and chemical control methods for invasive aquatic weeds in Connecticut.

SUPPORTS CONSERVATION:

Conservation Programs: $980.3 million, $72.9 million above the President’s request and $11.9 million above 2009, for the Natural Resources Conservation Service to improve service in the field, deliver conservation to protect the environment, and upgrade aging dams at risk of catastrophic failure. The bill restores cuts to valuable conservation programs, including the Resource Conservation and Development Program and the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations Program.

Importantly, the bill rejects $267 million in cuts to priority farm bill conservation programs, including the Wetlands Reserve Program, Farmland Protection Program, and Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program.

OVERSIGHT AND ENFORCEMENT

Commodity Futures Trading Commission: $160.6 million, as requested, and $14.6 million above 2009, to enhance oversight of the commodity futures markets. The increased resources will provide for additional staff and improved technology to better secure the markets from improper speculation.

Additionally, the FY’10 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration Appropriations Bill included funding for the following projects in the 3rd Congressional District:

Animal Vaccines Greenport, $1.518 million (University of Connecticut, 352 Mansfield Road, Storrs, CT 06269): for advanced animal vaccine research for disease prevention and control.

Center of Excellence for Vaccine Research, $3.654 million (University of Connecticut, 352 Mansfield Road, Storrs, CT 06269): to construct an animal health research building that would increase the quality of collaborative scientific research with ARS-USDA.

Center for Foodborne Illness Research and Prevention, $200,000 (P.O. Box 206, Grove City, PA 16127): to work on establishing a foodborne illness health registry.

Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, $1.454 million (123 Huntington Street, New Haven, CT 06504-1106): to conduct research on how mosquitoes transmit viruses that can cause encephalitis in humans and horses from mosquitoes.

Cooperative Agreement with Tufts University and Connecticut, $333,000 (200 Westboro Road, North Grafton, MA 01536: Tufts University for the New England Agriculture Project, Cooperative Grant Agreement between Tufts Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine and USDA NRCS, which creates incentives for New England farmers to conserve land by improving productivity and profitability.

Food Marketing Policy Center, $401,000 (University of Connecticut, 352 Mansfield Road, Storrs, CT 06269): to study the impact of non-competitive food market channel conduct on consumers, farmers, and government policy. The entity to receive funding for this project, entitled Food Marketing Policy Center, is located at 352 Mansfield Road, Storrs, CT 06269.

Lyme Disease 4 Poster Project, $700,000 (American Lyme Disease Foundation, P.O. Box 466, Lyme, CT 06371, and the Yale School of Public Health, 60 College Street New Haven, CT 06520-8034): to conduct research concerning the prevalence, emergence and control of arthropod-borne pathogens of human and domestic animals.

Massaro Community Farm, $300,000 (1182 Racebrook Road, Woodbridge, CT 06525): to restore, enhance, and preserve the existing historic farmland and structures making it a national model of energy sustainability allowing it to provide local nutrition programs and supply food to local schools and food banks.

Northeast Center for Invasive Plants, $295,000 (University of Connecticut, 352 Mansfield Road, Storrs, CT 06269): for the development of non-invasive cultivars for highly popular, but invasive ornamental plants so that these plants can be produced and sold without risk to the environment.

Protein Production for Research to Combat Viruses and Microbes, $500,000 (University of Connecticut, 352 Mansfield Road, Storrs, CT 06269): for protein production for research into combating viruses and microbes.