The National Institute of Food and Agriculture supports grants to continue building a foundation of knowledge critical for solving current and future challenges. NIFA is the USDA’s primary extramural agency to advance agricultural sciences. NIFA has funded nearly 300 active equine projects through the 2015- 2016 fiscal year.
The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) is a competitive grant program that provides funding for fundamental and applied research, education, and Extension projects in agricultural sciences. In their most recent request for applications, NIFA is seeking applications for the Foundational Program for FY 2016. The anticipated amount available for grants in FY 2016 is approximately $130 million.
Land-Grant Institutions, for-profit organizations, individuals, nonprofit organizations, institutions of higher education, small business, State Agricultural Experiment Stations and more are able to apply. Applications are due to NIFA by Wednesday, August 31, 2016. For more information visit https://nifa.usda.gov/funding-opportunity/agriculture-and-food-research-initiative-foundational-program .
Yesterday, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved its version of the FY 2017 Agriculture Appropriations bill. This bill provides funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for the 2017 fiscal year (October 1, 2016 through September 30, 2017). The bill contains several provisions that impact the horse industry, including the so-called “horse slaughter defunding provision,” funding for USDA equine health activities and enforcement of the Horse Protection Act.
FY 2016 House USDA Appropriations
Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) offered an amendment to prohibit funding for USDA inspections at U.S. horse slaughter facilities that was adopted by a voice vote. This prohibition will prevent horse slaughter facilities from operating in the U.S. if this bill is signed into law.
Currently, No horse slaughter facilities are operating in the U.S and a prohibition on funding for inspectors at such facilities from last year’s FY 2016 USDA bill is in effect until September 30, 2016. If that prohibition expires, USDA will be required to provide inspectors and horse slaughter facilities if any were to open.
A similar defunding amendment was adopted by the House Appropriations Committee when it approved the House version of the USDA appropriations bill.
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service and Equine Health
The bill would provide $939 million for the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). APHIS is the USDA agency responsible for protecting and promoting U.S. agricultural health, including responding to contagious equine disease outbreaks. Funding for Equine, Cervid, and Small Rumiant health would be set at $19.7 million, this is a $200,000 increase over FY 2015.
Horse Protection Act
The bill provides $706,000 for enforcement of the Horse Protection Act a $9,000 increase over FY 2016 funding.
The bill must now be approved by the full Senate.