Blunt Touts Missouri Priorities in FY2022 Agriculture, Energy and Water Development Appropriations Bills
WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced that several Missouri priories were included in the FY2022 Agriculture and Energy and Water Development funding bills. The bills were approved by the Appropriations Committee by a vote of 25 to 5.
“I’m pleased the committee worked together to prioritize support for programs and policies that significantly benefit farmers, businesses, and communities – especially in rural areas,” said Blunt. “By investing in Missouri’s ag research facilities, we’ll help ensure farmers and ranchers have all the tools they need to feed and fuel the world. This bill also addresses a top concern among many local officials, families, and small business owners: the critical need to improve the safety and navigability of Missouri’s waterways. By investing in rural broadband as well as water and electric infrastructure, the bill supports programs that will help boost economic growth and improve the quality of life in towns and cities. I’ll continue working with my colleagues to ensure these priorities get the funding they need in the final FY2022 appropriations bill.”
Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies:
· Agricultural Research: The bill provides $3.6 billion to support agricultural research conducted by the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA). This investment will support research, education, and extension activities at the University of Missouri, Missouri State University, Northwest Missouri State University, Lincoln University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s ARS facility in Columbia, Mo.
o Agriculture and Food Research Initiative: The bill includes $445 million for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, a $10 million increase over FY2021.
o Policy Research Centers: The legislation provides $8 million for policy research cooperative agreements. This investment will assist with the analysis of national and international projections of agricultural markets and the rural economy.
o Livestock Genetic Research: The bill includes an additional $3 million for ARS to conduct livestock genetic research.
o Missouri River Research: The bill includes additional resources for ARS to continue Missouri River Basin Water Resource Management Research.
· Farm Service Agency (FSA): The legislation includes nearly $1.2 billion for various farm, conservation, and emergency loan programs that Missouri farmers and ranchers rely upon, an increase of $35.4 million above the FY2021 enacted level. The bill also prohibits the closure of FSA county offices.
· Natural Resources Conservation Service: The bill provides $937 million for conservation operations and technical assistance to help farmers, ranchers, and private forest landowners conserve and protect their land.
o Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations Program: The measure includes $198 million for the Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations Program. Additionally, the bill includes $10 million for the East Locust Creek Reservoir Project. Blunt has led efforts to secure funding for the East Locust Creek Project to address severe water shortages in North Central Missouri. The East Locust Creek Reservoir service area includes Mercer, Putnam, Schuyler, Grundy, Sullivan, Adair, Livingston, Linn, Macon, and Chariton counties.
· Rural Development: The legislation includes over $3.56 billion for Rural Development programs and activities, including infrastructure, community development, rural housing, and water programs.
o Rural Broadband: The bill includes $700 million for the ReConnect Pilot Program. The program targets areas that currently lack access to broadband and includes provisions that prevent overbuilding existing infrastructure. Over the past two years, Missouri has received nearly $200 million in funding through the Blunt-backed program, amounting to about 20% of all the support provided nationwide. The bill also includes $60 million for Distance Learning/Telemedicine and Broadband grants that will help expand access to modern, high-speed internet services in rural areas. Blunt has led efforts to end the digital divide that has left about one-third of rural Missourians without access to broadband.
o Water and Electric Infrastructure: The measure includes nearly $1.45 billion for rural water and waste program loans, $450 million for water and waste grants, and over $1.5 billion in grants and loans for rural business and industry programs that promote small business growth in rural areas.
o Goodfellow Relocation: The bill includes $24.5 million to support the Goodfellow facility relocation in St. Louis, Missouri.
Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies:
· U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: The legislation provides more than $8.9 billion for the Army Corps of Engineers, which is $1.17 billion above the FY2021 enacted level. The funding will support vital flood control and navigation projects across Missouri and the nation.
· Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP): The bill includes $45.1 million for construction funds for NESP, which will modernize seven locks and dams on the Upper Mississippi River.
· Lower Missouri Basin Flood Control Feasibility Studies: Blunt secured funding for flood control feasibility studies in Chariton County, Holt County and Jefferson City, which will advance necessary projects to reduce flood risk.
· Missouri River Bank Stabilization and Navigation Program: The legislation provides $47.4 million for operation and maintenance work activities, including critical structure maintenance for navigation.
· Inland Waterways Trust Fund: The bill makes full use of the Inland Waterways Trust Fund revenues. The bill also ensures the resources inland navigation operators put into the Inland Waterways Trust Fund are used for construction and modernization of our nation’s locks and dams.
· Mississippi River and Tributaries Project: The legislation includes $380 million for the Mississippi River and Tributaries Project, providing vital funding for the Corps to fulfill its flood control and navigation missions.
· Delta Regional Authority (DRA): The bill provides $30.1 million for the DRA with a focus on infrastructure development in rural areas, including $15 million for flood control, public infrastructure, and transportation improvements. The DRA provides infrastructure, health care, and economic development assistance to 29 counties in Southeast Missouri.
· Small Ports: The legislation includes $65 million for the dredging of small ports, including those in Missouri located on the Mississippi River.
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