Hoeven: FY17 Funding Agreement Supports Agriculture, Rural Communities

As Chairman of Ag Approps, Senator Worked to Support Producers, Ag Research, Rural Communities

WASHINGTON – Senator John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture, Rural Development and Food and Drug Administration Appropriations Committee, today announced that the Fiscal Year 2017 funding agreement provides strong support for North Dakota’s and the nation’s farmers, ranchers and rural communities.

“As chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, I worked to ensure that our farmers and ranchers have the support they need given the challenges facing farm country due to low commodity prices,” said Hoeven. “This funding legislation supports our producers, provides strong funding for agriculture research and invests in our rural communities.”

Supporting Farmers & Ranchers

  • ARC Pilot Program – Includes $5 million for an Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) pilot program to allow for an alternate calculation method for crop payments when NASS data is insufficient.
  • Water Bank – Provides $4 million in funding for the Hoeven Water Bank program, which compensates farmers and landowners for flooded land through 10-year, voluntary conservation agreements.

Agriculture Research

  • Agriculture Research– Provides an increase of $62 million for research through the Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture.  $375 million is provided for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative. Other research increases include the Small Grains Genomic Initiative, the US Wheat and Barley Scab Initiative, and the Crop Protection/Pest Management program.

Rural Communities

  • Rural Electric Refinancing – Allows Rural Electric Cooperatives to refinance loans, which will benefit ratepayers in rural America.
  • Rural Water Circuit Rider – Provides nearly $16.9 million to provide technical expertise and training to rural communities through state based nonprofit organizations through the Rural Circuit Rider program, which is one of USDA’s most successful public-private partnerships.
  • Rural Development Distance Learning Telemedicine - Provides $26 million for grants that fund capital improvements – primarily equipment – for distance learning and telemedicine projects serving rural residents.

School Nutrition Flexibility

  • School Meals Flexibility – Provides flexibility in school nutrition standards by continuing the whole grains waiver requirement, delaying Target II for sodium requirements, and adding a new waiver authority for flavored, low-fat fluid milk
  • Child Nutrition Programs Study – Includes $1 million for an independent study to identify the best means of consolidating and coordinating reporting requirements under Child Nutrition Programs. 

Additionally, as a member of the Homeland Security Appropriations Committee, Hoeven worked to secure more than $5.7 million in funding to construct a U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) building at the Pembina Port of Entry. The facility will provide a permanent solution for APHIS at a secure location directly on the port and place all operations on the U.S. side of the border.