CONGRESS APPROVES AG APPROPRIATIONS FOR ALABAMA
Congress wrapped up its rare lame-duck session last week by completing a $388 billion omnibus spending bill that funds the federal government. Included in that bill was funding for agriculture research projects in Alabama. A partial list includes:
• Horn Fly Vaccine Research --$167,000
• Alabama Beef Connection-- $393,000
• Precision Agriculture-Forestry -- $604,000
• Nursery, Greenhouse, Turf -- $275,000
• Tri-State Joint Peanut Research -- $567,000
• ARS Catfish Disease Research -- $1,010,000
• ARS Catfish Genome Research -- $1,121,985
• ARS Improved Crop Production Practices-Soil Lab -- $995,000
• ARS Soil Dynamics Lab-Land Grant Alliance -- $1.1 million.
Opponents of mandatory country-of-origin labeling attempted to overturn current law by inserting a provision in the omnibus bill that would have made all labeling voluntary. Agriculture organizations including the Alabama Farmers Federation mounted a vigorous effort and defeated the attempt.
Midwestern and northeastern dairy interests also attempted to extend the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program for two years but were thwarted in that attempt as well. The MILC program is set to expire next year, but dairy interests wanted it to be reauthorized when the farm bill is taken up again in 2007. The Southeastern Dairy Farmers and the Alabama Farmers Federation opposed the extension.
Congress may return for a day in December if the conference committee for the intelligence reorganization works out the details. Otherwise, Congress will return in January and prepare for President Bush's inauguration on Jan. 20.