Congressman Higgins Votes to Approve 2010 Agriculture Bill
Congressman Brian Higgins (NY-27) voted with his colleagues in the House of Representatives to approve the 2010 Agriculture, Rural Development, Food & Drug Administration Appropriations bill.
“The agriculture industry plays an essential role in Western New York’s economy with farms producing over $230 million in products sold annually,” said Congressman Brian Higgins. “This bill supports programs that that invest in rural communities, protect the safety of our food and promote farming.”
Highlights of the $22.9 billion bill include:
- Food Safety: $2.995 billion to help the FDA improve the safety of domestic and imported food and medical products and over $1 billion toward the inspection of meet, poultry and egg products; it also provides for continuation of country of origin labeling for fresh fruits and vegetables, meats and other products
- Rural Development: $2.825 billion for USDA rural housing, water projects, community facilities and economic development efforts
- Agricultural Research: $1.19 billion for the Agricultural Research Service and $1.253 billion for the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (formerly called CSREES) for important agricultural research. This research is especially important to our grape and apple growers, and helps them maintain our lead in crop development, competitiveness, international trade, and nutrition research.
- Conservation Programs: $980.3 million for the Natural Resources Conservation Service to improve service in the field, deliver conservation to protect the environment, and upgrade aging dams at risk of catastrophic failure. The bill also restores cuts to valuable conservation programs, including the Resource Conservation and Development Program the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations Program, Wetlands Reserve Program, Farmland Protection Program, and Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program. These programs fund conservation projects on farms across WNY and projects like the dam rehabilitation at Conewango Creek, which recently received $1,200,000 in federal funding through the stimulus act.
- Nutrition for Women, Children and Seniors: increases services to an additional 700,000 women and children and expands programs to help ensure that seniors and American families do not go hungry
This bill achieves a gross savings of $735 million below 2009 funding levels through the elimination of unsuccessful programs and additional cuts.
According to 2007 US Census data there are 2,676 farms and 4,066 farm operators located within Congressman Higgins district with the average farm 136 acres in size. Chautauqua County is home to 1,658 farms while 1,215 farms are in Erie County (including portions outside NY-27). Farms in New York occupy 25% of the land area in the state and contribute $25 billion to the state’s economy annually.