On November 14, the House/Senate conference committee released its report on the agriculture appropriations bill for fiscal year 2012. The committee needed to reconcile differences between funding levels in the House and Senate versions of the bill. The resulting agreement would make further deep cuts in investments in Farm Bill energy and conservation programs.
According to the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, conservation and energy programs will bear the brunt of the cuts in the final agriculture appropriations bill for FY12 (H.R. 2112) as agreed to by the conference committee (Conference Report: 112-284). Funding for the Rural Energy for America Program (REAP) would be reduced to $25.4 million (-66% below FY11 (includes reductions to both mandatory and discretionary spending)); the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP) would be reduced to $17 million (-85%); mandatory conservation programs would be cut a combined total $927 million; and the Natural Resources Conservation Service, which provides technical assistance for conservation programs, would be cut $44 million (-5%). These cuts would follow deep cuts made in FY11. Both the House and Senate approved the conference report November 17. The bill moves next to the President’s desk.