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Ag bill passes House

WASHINGTON — The U.S. House of Representatives has approved $5.1 million in appropriations requests submitted by Congressman Travis Childers (D-Miss.) through passage of the final version of the Agriculture Appropriations Bill. The legislation allocates important funding to protect public health, invest in rural communities, and support agriculture research.

Highlights of the final legislation include:

• $1.608 million – Dietary Supplements Research, National Center for Natural Products. The National Center for Natural Products Research (NCNPR) works closely with the FDA/CFSAN to conduct research on biological and chemical properties of plants used in dietary supplements, in order to ensure the quality and safety of these products. This project continues NCNPR’s collaboration with FDA/CFSAN to develop the science base for ensuring the authenticity, quality and safety of botanicals sold as dietary supplements in the US.

• $3.497 million – National Center for Natural Products Phase II Construction. The NCNPR has established a program of research in discovery of new natural products and in understanding how they may be useful as new drugs or agrochemicals. To optimally achieve this vision, the center is pursuing an expansion of its current facility to a second phase. Phase II will provide capabilities for extension of Phase I discovery operations into the drug development stages. Phase II will allow enhanced capabilities for analog development, scaling up isolation and synthesis, analytical chemistry, characterizing mechanism of action, toxicology, animal efficacy studies, and development of a regulatory agency (FDA, EPA).

The Agriculture Appropriations Bill also includes funding for:

• Rural development through USDA programs important to rural communities, including rural housing, water projects, community facilities, and economic development efforts.

• Dairy assistance for the nation’s dairy farmers who are struggling due to historically low prices.

• Child nutrition programs to provide nutritious meals and snacks to over 32 million children in schools, childcare institutions, adult day care centers, and after school care programs.

• Agriculture research carried out by USDA research agencies, the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture. Some of the funding directed to ARS will go towards research project at the University of Mississippi and Mississippi State University.

• Agricultural Credit Insurance Fund to support farm operating, ownership and conservation loans.

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