July 2023


    September 14, 2023

    Legislation – Where are we?
    Congress has left Washington, DC, for their annual August recess without completing work on either the Farm Bill or the FY24 budget. The Senate is scheduled to reconvene on September 5 and the House on September 12. This leaves little time to reach agreement on either, as action is needed on both by September 30.

    The House passed a highly partisan National Defense Authorization Act and now needs to pass the USDA/FDA budget and 11 other appropriations bills needed to fund the various agencies. The Senate has passed largely bipartisan versions of the funding bills. The GOP was unable to pass a USDA/FDA budget before leaving town, as they had significant internal disagreements over language that would restrict access to abortion pills, as well as funding and work requirements for feeding programs. If the House is able to pass a bill, they still need to reach agreement with the Senate.  It is unlikely that items being pushed in the House related to abortion pill access or reductions to feeding programs will have any chance of passing the Senate. Some sort of omnibus bill or continuing resolution would appear likely as a way to prevent a government shutdown and provide more time to reach agreement on details. 

    On the Farm Bill, neither chamber has yet circulated a draft bill. In the House, Ag Committee Chair G.T. Thompson (R-Pa.) has told reporters he wants to circulate a draft in early September. In the Senate, Ag Committee ranking member John Boozman (R-Ark.) has said that he and Chair Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) are going to be “working hard” through the recess and have committed to meeting in person or by Zoom. Senate aides have largely ruled out September for the upper chamber to have a final draft of their farm bill, given the jam-packed schedule. But they’re increasingly optimistic about October, pending any additional delays from the negotiations or Congressional Budget Office. This may require some type of short-term action to keep programs running until the new Farm Bill is in place.

    We will be watching for action on both. Visit the FASS Science Policy area for current coalition letter and other advocacy actions we are taking.

    APHIS Seeks Proposals for NADPRP and NAHLN
    The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) is continuing to advance animal disease preparedness and response through its Farm Bill animal health programs. APHIS is seeking project proposals for the National Animal Disease Preparedness and Response Program (NADPRP) and the National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN). The agency is also announcing its next round of purchases for the National Animal Vaccine and Veterinary Countermeasures Bank (NAVVCB). The 2018 Farm Bill provided funding for these programs as part of an overall strategy to help prevent animal pests and diseases from entering the United States and reduce the spread and impact of potential disease incursions through advance planning and preparedness. Projects selected for funding will be awarded in FY 2024.

    Up to $23.5 million in funds will be made available by APHIS for NADPRP and NAHLN. The NADPRP proposals must be submitted by October 20, 2023, and NAHLN proposals must be submitted by October 27, 2023. 

    Those interested in submitting proposals for NADPRP should visit the APHIS NADPRP website for resources and guidance, including the funding opportunity announcement, application instructions, frequently asked questions, templates, help session webinar information, and more.

     Application instructions and additional information for NAHLN proposals are available on the NAHLN website or can be requested from the NAHLN program office NAHLN@usda.gov

    Please contact Sydney Hart, Sydney.Hart@usda.gov with any additional questions.

    USDA Invests in REE at 1890 Land-grant Universities
    The USDA announced recently an investment of more than $33 million to support capacity-building efforts at 1890 land-grant universities. This investment, administered through USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), will support 82 research, Extension, and education projects across the nation’s 19 Historically Black Colleges and Universities designated as 1890 land-grant universities.

    These projects are part of NIFA’s 1890 Capacity Building Grants Program, which is designed to build capacity for teaching, research, and Extension activities at these schools. Eligible institutions are receiving funding for a range of activities, including curriculum design, materials development, faculty development, student recruitment and retention, and Extension program development support. Research investments will strengthen the quality and diversity of the nation’s higher-education workforce, bolster research and knowledge delivery systems, and equip 1890 land-grant universities with resources needed to better address emerging challenges and create new opportunities. (MORE)

    The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2023
    Over 122 million more people are facing hunger in the world since 2019 due to the pandemic and repeated weather shocks and conflicts, including the war in Ukraine, according to the latest State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World (SOFI) report published jointly by five United Nations specialized agencies.  

    If trends remain as they are, the Sustainable Development Goal of ending hunger by 2030 will not be reached, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), and the World Food Programme (WFP) warn. 

    The 2023 edition of the report reveals that between 691 million and 783 million people faced hunger in 2022, with a mid-range of 735 million. This represents an increase of 122 million people compared to 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic.

    While global hunger numbers have stalled between 2021 and 2022, there are many places in the world facing deepening food crises. Progress in hunger reduction was observed in Asia and Latin America, but hunger was still on the rise in Western Asia, the Caribbean and throughout all subregions of Africa in 2022. Africa remains the worst-affected region with one in five people facing hunger on the continent, more than twice the global average.

    “There are rays of hope, some regions are on track to achieve some 2030 nutrition targets. But overall, we need an intense and immediate global effort to rescue the Sustainable Development Goals. We must build resilience against the crises and shocks that drive food insecurity-from conflict to climate,” said UN Secretary António Guterres through a video message during the launch of the report at the UN Headquarters in New York.

    Click here for additional information and resources.  The report has implications for both the Farm Bill and the budget as they move forward.

    FASS Science Policy Committee
    Members of the FASS Science Policy Committee will be reviewing feedback from the recent ADSA and ASAS Annual Meetings in their upcoming meeting as we plan coming activities.

    We are looking for research advocates to join the committee. The committee meets via Zoom. The group continues to make progress on reviewing and updating existing FASS Science Policy Statements, identifying and developing additional policy statements as needed, joining coalition efforts and planning activities to advance animal agriculture research funding, while encouraging the use of sound science in decision making.

    Committee terms are for three years with an opportunity to renew for an additional term. We are also looking for FASS science policy advocates who will get to know and communicate occasionally with their members of Congress on issues related to animal agriculture.

    Please contact me if you have questions, ideas, or suggestions on any of these or other policy issues. We will provide additional information on these and other emerging issues as it becomes available. We need to work together to maintain a strong and effective national research effort.

    Ken Olson, PhD, PAS
    FASS Science Policy Coordinator