House Republicans are proposing more modest cuts to spending at USDA than GOP appropriators tried last year, but they also are attempting to block USDA regulations on the meat and poultry industry and slow down new food traceability requirements.

The House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee on Tuesday will consider a draft FY25 spending bill that would provide a total of $25.9 billion for USDA, FDA and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which would be 1.35%, or $355 million, below FY24.

The draft Agriculture bill, released Monday, lacks the billions in funding rescissions that ultimately helped doom the FY24 bill on the House floor although the latest measure would still trim funding for many agencies and programs. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack said the FY24 bill would have effectively slashed USDA's budget by 18%.

Perhaps the biggest target in the FY25 bill is the Food for Peace program, which would see its funding reduced by $619 million to $1 billion for FY25. A GOP summary of the bill says the cut is intended to make up for the $1 billion that Vilsack is pulling from the Commodity Credit Corporation to supplement the Food for Peace program at the request of leaders of the Senate Agriculture Committee.

“The bill prioritizes agencies and programs that protect our nation’s food and drug supply; support America’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities; and ensure low-income Americans have access to nutrition programs,” the GOP summary says. “The bill also reins in harmful regulations that raise the cost of doing business and make it harder to live and work in rural communities.”

The subcommittee’s top Democrat, Sanford Bishop of Georgia, called the bill’s funding level “inadequate and irresponsible. We must learn from the last fiscal year’s funding negotiations and acknowledge that the only path forward is a bipartisan one. Above all, we must not pit farmers against families.”

“Among its many flaws, the proposed bill guts agriculture research programs, cuts funding needed to publish timely data on commodity markets, and decreases rural water programs,” he said.

       It’s easy to be “in the know” about what’s happening in Washington, D.C. Sign up for a FREE month of Agri-Pulse news! Simply click here.

The bill’s policy provisions also include authorization for a pilot program testing food purchasing restrictions for SNAP benefits, an idea that is a priority for the subcommittee’s chairman, Andy Harris, R-Md.

Other policy riders include one that would prohibit Vilsack from implementing proposed or final rules to give poultry and meat producers more leverage with processors. Vilsack also would be barred from finalizing a recently proposed rule intended to reform the poultry tournament system and provide broiler chicken growers a guaranteed base price for their birds.

FDA would be prohibited under the bill from enforcing some food traceability requirements until it completes at least four pilot projects “in coordination with farms and with food industry members operating restaurants, retail food establishments” and warehouses. Implementation of the regulations would have to be delayed until at least two years after the projects are completed.

The bill also targets the hemp industry with restrictions on derivatives that aren’t naturally occurring in the plant. The restrictions, which are similar to an amendment included in the House Agriculture Committee’s farm bill, are intended to address concerns about a proliferation of hemp derivatives that critics say can be dangerous to children.

Like the farm bill, the FY25 spending measure also attempts to address concerns about foreign ag ownership with provisions to tighten the tracking of foreign-owned land and to ensure that USDA is included in the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) to review agricultural transactions.

The spending bill also would require the National Agricultural Statistics Service to reinstate the July Cattle report, the Cotton Objective Yield Survey, and all County Estimates for Crops and Livestock, although the bill legislation wouldn’t provide enough funding to cover the cost of the reports, according to a summary of the bill released by the Democratic minority.

In other areas of the budget, the bill would provide $3.7 billion for agricultural research programs, a reduction of $34 million below FY24. The Agricultural Research Service would get an increase of $5.8 million to nearly $1.8 billion, but the budget for the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which funds university research, would be trimmed $5 million to under $1.8 billion.

USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service would get $903 million for conservation operations, $12 million less than FY24. The funding underwrites technical assistance to farmers.

FDA would get $$3.5 billion, $22 million less than what it received for FY24.

Funding for the CFTC would be reduced $20 million to $345 million.

Fiscal 2025 starts Oct. 1.

For more news, go to