The U.S. Senate Appropriations committee has approved a bill to fund the Agriculture Department and related agencies for fiscal year 2020. The bill provides discretionary funding of $23.1 billion, $58 million over the fiscal year 2019 enacted level and $4.1 billion over the budget request. Mandatory funding in the bill totals $128.6 billion.
The bill also includes language that supports funding for the National Agriculture Statistics Service (NASS) annual Floriculture Crops Report, the only report providing national stats on the cut flower sector.
The bill’s report language states: “The Committee recognizes the importance of the Floriculture Crops Report and recommends an increase of $500,000 for NASS to complete the report. The Committee directs NASS to include data from Alaska in compiling the report.”
Certified American Grown and the California Cut Flower Commission worked closely with Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Sen. Lisa Murkowski to ensure that language supporting the annual Floriculture Report was included.
This year and in 2018, the California Cut Flower Commission submitted appropriations requests to both the House and Senate, and had numerous discussions with Members advocating about the importance of the report. The report was also a topic at the annual Washington, D.C. fly-in.
As you may know, the report was quietly suspended in 2016, but as a result of Certified American Grown and CCFC’s advocacy for fiscal year 2019, the report was bought back and released in May 2019. The Society of American Florists (SAF) also lobbied for the report.
The approval of the ag funding bill with language supporting the Floriculture Crops report is a huge win for America’s flower farmers!
Regarding the overall bill, Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) said, “This bill funds our nation’s agriculture and nutrition programs and directly influences the quality of life in rural America. It provides our farmers and ranchers the support they need. This is a good committee product, and I thank Senators Hoeven and Merkley for working together to craft this legislation. It deserves the backing of the full Senate.”
Next, the bill will be placed on the legislative calendar for a vote.