Farm Bill Appropriations

(May, 2017) Congress passed, and the President signed, the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017 in early May, 2017. After three continuing resolutions and seven months we now have the appropriations for the remainder of fiscal year 2017, through September 30, 2017. Prospects for FY2018 remain uncertain.

This bill affects two types of federal appropriations: mandatory funding and discretionary funding. Those are explained in more depth at the end of this post.

The good news is that mandatory funding for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP, Section 9007) was not affected and left at $50 million. REAP even received modest additional discretionary funding of $352,000, limited loan guarantees.

The Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP, Section 9010) was, again, cut deeply. Mandatory funding was reduced from $25 million to $3 million. At these low levels the program cannot live up to expectations.

The Biorefinery, Renewable Chemical and Biobased Product Manufacturing Assistance program (section 9003) was capped at $151 million. The funding for this program was actually front loaded in the first three years of the five-year Farm Bill so this does not affect mandatory funding, simply limits what can be expended from funds accumulated in the program account.

Looking forward, the prospects of funding for FY2018 are more challenging. Funding will likely be cut unless people speak up in favor of these programs.

FY2017 Appropriations History 

Section name 2017 Mandatory Funding House
Appropriations 2017
Senate Appropriations
Bioenergy Program for Advanced Biofuels $15.0 $15.0 $15.0
Rural Energy for America Program $50.0 $50.5 $50.5 $50.352
Biomass Crop Assistance Program $25.0 $3.0 $3.0 $3.0

Explanation of appropriations terms

Mandatory funding — The amount authorized in the five-year Farm Bill by Congress is available unless limited to smaller amounts in the annual appropriations process; if appropriators do not act, the amount that was authorized is provided to the program.

Discretionary funding – Programs that require annual funding to be passed by the Appropriations Committees.