This section of the bill would provide a total of $23.235 billion in discretionary funding to support the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, rural development, and conservation programs for fiscal year 2019 — an increase of $225 million from the prior year. It’d also authorize $121.8 billion for mandatory nutrition programs, which is $710 million below the prior year due in part due to fewer individuals seeking nutrition assistance. A breakdown of the bill’s various provisions can be found below.
Food and Nutrition Programs: This section would provide discretionary and mandatory funding for USDA’s food and nutrition programs, including:
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP): $73.219 billion in required mandatory funding would be provided, which is $794 million below the prior year.
Child Nutrition Programs: $23.184 billion in mandatory funding, which would provide meals for an estimated 30.7 million participants.
Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC): $6.15 billion in discretionary funding, a decrease of $25 million — which is based on USDA enrollment estimates and won’t prevent eligible participants from getting benefits.
Rural Development: This section would provide $3.8 billion in FY19 funding, of which $825 million would be dedicated for infrastructure investments. It’d provide for the development of rural broadband, and finance $1.25 billion in loans for water & electric infrastructure, $24 billion in rural housing & rental assistance, and $1 billion in loans for rural businesses.
Food and Drug Administration (FDA): This section would provide $2.97 billion in discretionary FY19 funding for the FDA, an increase of $159 million (the FDA gets another $2.5 billion in funding from user fees). It’d provide:
$88.5 million of medical product initiatives, including full funding for the Oncology Center of Excellence;
$70 million as authorized in the 21st Century Cures Act;
$66 million for opioid prevention efforts; and
$15 million for food safety initiatives.
Agricultural Research: This section would provide $2.73 billion to support research conducted by the Agricultural Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Formulas used to determine research funding for land grant universities would be maintained at the prior year’s levels.
$1.716 billion would be made available for Food for Peace grants, which support the delivery of American-grown food to foreign countries experiencing chronic hunger crises.
The McGovern-Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program would be funded with $210 million, including $15 million for the Local and Regional Food Aid Procurement at the Foreign Agriculture Service.