Cornerstone’s 2013 Farm Bill Report

No. 4 – May 16, 2013


Agriculture Committees on both sides of Capitol Hill completed their Farm Bill markups this week and reported the respective bills to their chambers for further action. This report describes the results from both markups.

Senate Markup Results

The Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry completed its markup of the Agriculture Reform, Food and Jobs Act of 2013 on Tues., May 14. The bill was ordered reported to the full Senate for further consideration by a recorded vote of 15 to 5. Only a handful of amendments were adopted.


Amendments Adopted to Title VII (Research and Extension):

§  Chambliss Amendment No. 2. Establishes within the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) a new Farm Animal Agriculture Integrated Research Initiative, to “address the critical needs of animal agriculture” by developing and disseminating science-based tools and information. The new initiative would focus on research: (1) to promote food security; (2) on the interrelationship between animal and human health; and (3) environmental stewardship. The initiative would be authorized at $50 million per year, is subject to appropriations, and would provide competitive grants to a broad array of institutions (the same as in AFRI, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative.)

§  Cochran Amendment No. 1. Establishes a Socially Disadvantaged Farmers and Ranchers Policy (at a single 1890 land-grant university) to develop “policy recommendations for the protection and promotion of the interests of socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers.”

§  Harkin Amendment No. 2. Amends AFRI’s 30% set aside for integrated research to include additional entities such as federal agencies, national laboratories, private organizations, corporations, etc.

§  Hoven Amendment No. 7. Establishes a new Cervidae Initiative at NIFA to support collaborative research on parasites and diseases of farmed deer and elk such as epizootic hemorrhagic disease and chronic wasting disease.

§  Klobuchar Amendment No.2. Increases mandatory funding for the new Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research from $100 to $200 million.


Amendments to Other Titles but of Concern to Land-Grant Institutions

§  Thune Amendment No. 4. Would cap SNAP-Ed funding at $5.00 per enrolled individual per state (indexed for inflation), effectively establishing a new SNAP-Ed distribution formula. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the amendment would have saved $2 billion over the course of the bill. The amendment was rejected by a recorded vote of 12 to 8.


House Markup Results
The House Committee on Agriculture finished its markup of  H.R. 1947, the Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013 on Wed., May 15. No amendments were adopted by the Committee to Title VII (Research, Extension) and no other amendments of broad interest to the land-grant system were adopted in other titles of the bill. The House bill was reported by a vote of 36 to 10.


Major Title VII Differences in Two Bills

We will provide a more in-depth analysis of the House and Senate bills when the committees have made public their final legislative language and accompanying reports. We would, at this time, direct your attention to three areas of difference: (1) NIFA-administered programs with mandatory funding (not subject to annual appropriations); (2) The Senate’s proposed Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research; and (3) The House language concerning matching fund requirements for NIFA competitive grant programs.


1. NIFA-Administered Programs with Mandatory Funding: Five Year Totals




Organic Agriculture Research & Extension



Specialty Crop Research Initiative



Beginning Farmer & Rancher Development



Biomass R&D



Biodiesel Fuel Education Program







2. Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research.

The Senate bill would, as discussed in our report of May 9, 2013, establish a “Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research,” a new, 501(c)(3) organization and provide $200 million in mandatory funding on October 1, 2013. (The bill originally called for $100 million in funding, but that was increased to $200 million by Sen. Klobuchar’s Amendment No.2, described above.)


3. Matching Fund Requirements for NIFA Competitive Grants.

As outlined in our report of May 10, 2013, the House bill would establish new uniform matching fund requirements for most NIFA competitive grants programs. However, land-grant universities and their cooperating partners would be exempt from these matching fund requirements.


There are several outstanding issues that must be addressed by the BAA’s Committee on Legislation and Policy as the House and Senate Farm Bills move through the next steps of the legislative process. We will be certain to keep you apprised on those and other matters in the coming weeks.