On July 8, the House Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2016 Agriculture Appropriations bill. More details on the bill are available on the committee’s website. It is not yet clear when the bill will be considered by the full House of Representatives. In its present form, the bill provides for full funding of the USDA Market Access Program ($200 million) and Foreign Market Development Program ($34.5 million) as authorized by the farm bill.
The committee also approved an amendment requiring USDA to develop a comprehensive risk evaluation and conduct site inspections of processing plants in Argentina and Brazil before allowing imports of chilled/frozen beef from these countries. USDA-APHIS recently issued final rules allowing imports of chilled/frozen beef from the region of Northern Argentina and 14 Brazilian states. While these rules take effect Sept. 1, APHIS emphasized that Argentina and Brazil must also meet food safety standards and that their equivalence with U.S. standards will be assessed through a regulatory review process before any shipments are allowed to enter the United States.
The Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee has scheduled a markup of its FY 2016 Ag Appropriations bill on Tuesday, July 14.