WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) – member of U.S. Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies – today released the following statement after the Senate passed the FY2019 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies Bill that provides funding to support agriculture, conservation and nutrition programs:
“What our farmers and ranchers grow in Kansas not only puts food on our tables here at home, but provides nourishment to the hungry worldwide. The priorities I worked to include in this bipartisan bill – including broadband expansion and mental health services – reflect the resources farmers and ranchers across our state have expressed to me they need to do their jobs during a tough time in agriculture. I appreciate the Senate coming together in a bipartisan fashion to show our care, appreciation and support for our nation’s producers.”
This appropriations bill supports the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2018 Farm Bill implementation, rural development, conservation programs, and food and drug safety. It also provides essential nutrition assistance for children, families and seniors and creates incentives for military veterans to enter careers in agriculture.
Included in this legislation are several Sen. Moran-sponsored provisions:
Agricultural Research – Supports agricultural research conducted by the Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. This includes a $15 million increase over FY2018 for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, and research for Kansas crops such as wheat, sorghum and alfalfa.
International Food Assistance – Maintains the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, erected by former U.S. Senators Bob Dole (R-Kan.) and George McGovern (D-S.D.). This legislation also prioritizes Food for Peace grants which support the delivery of American-grown food to foreign countries experiencing chronic hunger crises.
National Bio and Agro-defense Facility (NBAF) – Secures funding for the future of NBAF, including a $5 million increase for Agricultural Research Services animal disease research, $10.6 million toward NBAF equipment-transfer related costs, continued funding for NBAF workforce development and flexibility for additional NBAF hiring.
Farmer Mental Health – Includes $2 million for grants to reestablish the Farmer Stress Assistance Network to help address the farmer mental health crisis. This funds a key provision of the Farmers First Act, included in the 2018 Farm Bill.
Rural Broadband – Invests in the rural broadband loan and grant pilot program for underserved areas, while including safeguards to prevent overbuilding on existing broadband infrastructure.
Opioids – Provides $47 million in regulatory science, enforcement and innovation activities, and $16 million for Distance Learning and Telemedicine grants to assist rural communities in combating the opioid epidemic.
Veterans in Agriculture – Contributes an additional $5 million for competitive grants to help veterans transition into agriculture.
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