December 16, 2015 — House of Representatives announces fiscal year 2016 Omnibus spending bill

Here are a few highlights related to Agricultural research spending and the Child Nutrition bill for which reauthorization was delayed.

Agricultural Research — The bill provides $2.94 billion for agricultural research programs, including the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Increased funding is provided to help stop and mitigate devastating crop diseases, improve food safety and water quality, and address issues related to drought, invasive species, and animal health. Within this amount, the bill includes $350 million for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative for competitive agricultural research grants, $212 million to rehabilitate high-priority ARS facilities, and funding to maintain important investments in the nation’s land-grant colleges and universities.

  • School Meals: Flexibility describes the language in the Omnibus bill related to school meals. Flexibility in the whole grain and sodium requirements.

Here are excerpts from the Omnibus Summary from Chairman Hal Rogers:

  • Child nutrition programs: The bill allows $22.1 billion in required mandatory funding — which is outside the discretionary funding jurisdiction of the Appropriations Committee — for child nutrition programs. Of this amount, $30 million is directed to help schools purchase needed equipment to operate the program. This funding will provide for an estimated 7.8 billion school breakfasts, lunches and snacks for 31 million children who qualify for the program.
  • A provision that provides flexibility to local schools to implement whole grain nutrition standards if the school can demonstrate a hardship when procuring whole grain products.
  • A provision that ensures further reductions in new school nutrition sodium standards will not take effect until supported by scientific studies.

Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015, Sustainablility Cut from consideration of guidelines:

  • A provision that ensures the final 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans are based on significant scientific agreement and are focused on nutritional and dietary information, and a provision requiring a review of the Dietary Guidelines process to ensure a balanced and scientific process in the future.

Find out more at the House of Representatives Ag Appropriation website.

pdf Download the Fiscal Year 2016 Omnibus Agriculture Summary (34 KB)