Federal Issue Brief

 FY 2013 Agriculture Appropriations

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AVMA Position: 

Active Pursuit of Passage of funding for USDA programs that play critical roles in increasing access to veterinary services; advancing animal research; fostering training and education of veterinarians working on the front lines to protect public and animal health; to defend the nation against agro-terrorism; and to secure our nation's food supply.

Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program (VMLRP)/ 7 USC 3101, Sect. 1415A

  • AVMA's #1 appropriations request is level funding of $4.79 million for VMLRP.
  • President's FY13 request is level funding, $4.79 million.
  • S. 2375 / S. Rept. 112–163 $4,790,000.
  • H.R. 5973 / H. Rept. 112-542: $4,694,000.
Agency Account FY Authorized Final PL
USDA NIFA 2012 such sums $4.79 million PL 112-55
USDA NIFA 2011 such sums $4.79 million PL 112-10
USDA NIFA 2010 such sums $4.8 million PL 111-80
USDA NIFA 2009 such sums $2.95 million PL 111-8


  • VMLRP will pay up to $25,000 per year towards qualified educational loans of eligible veterinarians who agree to serve in a NIFA designated area for up to four years. Due to limited funding USDA caps awards at 3 years.
  • VMLRP participants provide veterinary medical care primarily for livestock including beef cattle, dairy cows, poultry, swine, dairy goats, meat goats, sheep and equine in USDA designated areas. VMLRP veterinarians protect the nation's food supply and provide routine and emergency veterinary services; services required for interstate movement of livestock; Tuberculosis and Brucellosis testing; disease surveillance and diagnostics for state and federal animal health programs; and herd health plans including preventive medicine, nutrition and reproduction management consultation services. VMLRP veterinarians may also play a role in a state's veterinary emergency response team and take part in disease control and eradication programs.


  • Authorized in 2003 - Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program / 7 USC 3101, Sect. 1415A
  • Each VMLRP award may total up to $25,000/year.  Awards are applied towards qualified educational loans.
  • Average qualified educational debt for VMLRP veterinarians in 2011 was $109,259, an increase from the previous year when it averaged $96,147.
  • 128 veterinarians have signed three-year VMLRP contracts with USDA (75 in 2011; 53 in 2010).
  • 416 complete VMLRP applications have been submitted to USDA (159 in 2011; 257 in 2010).
  • 198 USDA-designated VMLRP situations in 2012 (218 in 2011; 187 in 2010).  Each state’s State Animal Health Officials (SAHO) is responsible for assessing their state’s need for food animal and public health veterinarians, and is responsible for submitting nominations to USDA for designation.
  • VMLRP veterinarians are presently under contract in 42 states, Puerto Rico and Federal Lands. Just 8 states and DC do not have a veterinarian under VMLRP contract (AL, AK, CT, HI, MA, NJ, OR, WI).

Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS)

Animal Health, Wildlife Services, Regulatory Services, Animal Welfare
  • AVMA urges congress to level fund APHIS in FY13 which includes level funding for Animal Health ($291 million); Wildlife Services ($91 million), Regulatory Services ($34 million); Animal Welfare ($28 million).
  • President's FY13 request for APHIS is $765,000,000.
  • S. 2375 / S. Rept. 112–163 $816,534,000.
  • H.R. 5973 / H. Rept. 112-542: $787,000,000.


  • USDA-NIFA-Integrated Activities, FADI has previously been budgeted at $9.8 million with about $4.4 million/year going towards NAHLN (FY11, allocation was reduced by 39% to $2.684 million).
  • USDA APHIS-Veterinary Services has previously allocated support for NAHLN ranging from $6.3 million in 2007 to $6.747 million in 2010. About $.1.5 million/year is from Veterinary Diagnostics (VD), the remainder is from and Animal Health Monitoring Systems (AHMS).

Recent APHIS Funding History

Agency Account FY Final PL
USDA APHIS 2012 $816,534,000 PL 112-55
USDA APHIS 2011 $865,000,000 PL 112-10
USDA APHIS 2010 $904,953,000 PL 111-80
USDA APHIS 2009 $876,675,000

PL 111-8


  • APHIS needs to maintain current funding levels to focus on traceability, disease surveillance and international services – APHIS veterinarians in foreign countries help solve problems and facilitate market access. Federal investment is meager compared to the grave consequences of not providing for APHIS’ important services. American’s agriculture sector and the economy could suffer greatly if APHIS is not well funded.
  • AVMA’s views the highest priority services provided by APHIS as surveillance, including emphasis on the National Animal Health Lab Network; foreign animal disease/transboundary disease response capability including the Animal Disease Traceability program; international programs integral to U.S. trade, and the National Veterinary Accreditation Program (requires veterinarians who perform accredited services on behalf of the Federal government to renew their accreditation – the gold standard for lab quality assurance – every 3 years and to complete APHIS provided continuing education on specific animal health and disease issues).
  • The cost of APHIS employees abroad generates multiple returns on investment by maintaining and growing export markets for U.S. agricultural products – as well as awareness of disease situations around the globe.
  • While AVMA’s emphasis is on the animal side, the same areas are important on the plant side of APHIS Plant Protection and Quarantine (PPQ).


  • The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service is a multi-faceted Agency with a broad mission area that includes protecting and promoting U.S. agricultural health, regulating genetically engineered organisms, administering the Animal Welfare Act and carrying out wildlife damage management activities.
  • APHIS Veterinary Services protects and improves the health, quality, and marketability of our nation's animals, animal products and veterinary biologics by preventing, controlling and/or eliminating animal diseases, and monitoring and promoting animal health and productivity.

National Animal Health Laboratory Network (NAHLN)

  • AVMA supports the President’s budget request for the Food and Agriculture Defense Initiative ($6 million); in addition we urge continued APHIS support for NAHLN.
  • President's FY13 request for FADI is $6 million.
  • S. 2375 / S. Rept. 112–163 $5,988,000.
  • H.R. 5973 / H. Rept. 112-542: $5,988,000.
Agency Account FY APHIS Allocation NIFA-FADI Allocation Final Allocation
USDA APHIS & NIFA 2012 estimated $6.7 million est. $5.988,000 TBD
USDA APHIS & NIFA 2011 $6.7 million $2.684 million est. $9.3 million
USDA APHIS & NIFA 2010 $6.747 million $4.4 million $11.1 million
USDA APHIS & NIFA 2009 $6.673 million $4.4 million $11.1 million


  • NAHLN was developed in response to the Public Health Security and BioTerrorism Preparedness and Response Act of 2002, and the Homeland Security Presidential Directive-9 (HSPD-9) of 2004 to “develop an agriculture early warning surveillance system” and “develop nationwide laboratory networks (through federal-state partnerships) for food, veterinary, plant health and water quality that integrate existing Federal and State lab resources, are interconnected, and utilize standardized diagnostic protocols and procedures”.
  •  During the past 10 years the NAHLN, composed of federal, university and state veterinary diagnostic labs, developed into a surveillance and emergency response system (not research) that provides critical and ongoing resources for lab testing, surveillance, information management, quality assurance and the development and validation of new tests.
  • The state of readiness and surge capacity of state and university diagnostic labs is dependent on federal funding to provide this national level of surveillance and response. Full funding of NAHLN directly addresses our nation's need for a safe, stable and nutritious food supply. Although current funding allows the NAHLN to function at marginal baseline levels, a line item specific for the NAHLN in the Farm Bill would provide stable, consistent annual funding to the state NAHLN labs. Formal authorization and funding is justified considering the huge economic and public health risks associated with devastating animal disease outbreaks.


  • USDA-NIFA-Integrated Activities-FADI devotes baseline funding for NAHLN.
  • USDA APHIS-Veterinary Services devotes additional support for NAHLN of about $6.7 million annually, including $2 million for infrastructure support to state labs and $1.24 million for program support.

Food Animal Residue Avoidance Databank (FARAD)/ 7 USC 7642, Section 604

  • AVMA requests $1 million for FARAD. Also, AVMA urges Congress to increase FARAD to the authorized level of $2.5 million as soon as practicable.
  • President's FY13 request is $0.
  • S. 2375 / S. Rept. 112–163 $1 million.
  •   H.R. 5973 / H. Rept. 112-542: $973,000.
Agency Account FY Authorized Final PL
USDA NIFA 2012 $2.5 million $1 million PL 112-55
USDA NIFA 2011 $2.5 million $998,000 PL 112-10
USDA NIFA 2010 $2.5 million $1 million PL 111-80
USDA NIFA 2009 $2.5 million $1 million PL 111-8


  • No other federal or private entity duplicates work carried out by FARAD, which straddles the missions of USDA (agriculture research and extension) and FDA (food safety).
  • Livestock producers and veterinarians working with food animals in every state across the country utilize and rely upon FARAD which helps keep milk, meat and eggs free of drug or contaminant residues (pesticides, minerals, biologic toxins) so that they are safe for human consumption.
  • FARAD provides the scientific basis for determining the appropriate drug withdrawal period. FARAD is used when food-producing animals are mistakenly exposed to environmental contaminants (pesticides, biotoxins, radionuclides, gas fracking water). During times of both small and large scale disasters (i.e., hurricanes, tsunamis, fires, oil spills, and nuclear incidents) the value and indispensability of FARAD is clearly evident.


  • FARAD is the primary source of information for veterinarians to comply with PL 103-396, Animal Medicinal Drug Use Clarification Act (AMDUCA), authorized in 1994. AMDUCA permits veterinarians to prescribe drugs in an extra-label manner to treat conditions for which there are no effective approved drugs. Veterinarians use drugs approved for both animals and humans to address animal health and welfare and to enhance public safety. AMDUCA requires a scientifically-derived withdrawal period for drugs used in an extra-label manner, thus necessitating the FARAD program.

USDA Research

  • AVMA supports the President’s budget requests for the Agricultural Research Service ($1.102 billion) and the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative ($325 million). Also, we urge Congress to increase AFRI to the authorized level of $700 million as soon as practicable. 
  • AVMA urges Congress to compel the USDA to give higher priority to animal health, livestock production, and animal products research.  Despite that the 2008 Farm Bill outlined 6 priority areas for AFRI grants: animal health and production and animal products; food safety, nutrition and health; plant health and production and plant products; renewable energy, natural resource and environment; agriculture systems and technology; and agriculture economics and rural communities; the USDA identified 5 core areas for special emphasis: climate change, bioenergy, childhood obesity, world hunger, and food safety. At the very least, congress ought to compel the USDA to add animal health as a 6th core area for special emphasis.
  • President’s request for ARS is $1.102 billion and for AFRI $325 million. 
  • S. 2375 / S. Rept. 112–163 ARS $1.102 billion and AFRI $298 million.
  • H.R. 5973 / H. Rept. 112-542: ARS $1.073 billion and AFRI $276.5 million.

Recent ARS Funding History

Agency Account FY Final PL 

Agency  Account FY
Final PL
USDA ARS 2012   $1,094,647,000 
PL 112-55
$1,135,501,000 PL 112-10
$1,179,639,000 PL 111-80
$1,140,406,000 PL 111-8

Recent AFRI / 7 USC 450i(b) Funding History

Agency Account FY Authorized Final PL
USDA NIFA 2012  $700 million $265.9 million PL 112-55
USDA NIFA 2011 $700 million $265 million PL 112-10
$700 million $262.4 million PL 111-80
USDA NIFA 2009  $700 million $201.5 million PL 111-8





  • The success of the agriculture and food industry plays a significant role in the overall health and security of the U.S. economy and annually produces hundreds of billions worth of food and other farm products, and provides a major foundation for prosperity in rural areas.
  • Investments in publicly funded research are critical for maintaining a successful agriculture and food sector. For every $1 invested in publicly funded agricultural and food research, $20 in economic activity is generated.
  • Budgetary decisions made today have far reaching impacts, as the scientific research funded today will be responsible for enhancing the Nation's agricultural productivity and economic prosperity in the future. A strengthened commitment to investments in science for food and agriculture is essential for maintaining the nation's food, economic, and national security.


  • ARS is USDA's largest intramural research agency. The ARS research agenda is broad, with about 1,200 research projects organized under four major program areas: Animal Production and Protection; Nutrition, Food Safety, and Food Quality; Natural Resources and Sustainable Agricultural Systems; and Crop Production and Protection. ARS' workforce includes 2,200 life and physical scientists, engineers, and veterinarians who represent a wide range of disciplines and work at more than 100 locations nationwide and at 5 overseas labs.
  • AFRI combines basic and applied research, taking research and innovation through the developmental phase and into implementation by utilizing contemporary education and extension programs. AFRI grants support research, education, and extension and integrated initiatives addressing issues of national, regional and multi-state importance to the safety, sustainability, and quality of American agriculture, including farm efficiency and profitability, ranching, renewable energy, forestry (both urban and agroforestry), aquaculture, rural communities and entrepreneurship, human nutrition, food safety, biotechnology, and conventional breeding.

Animal Health and Disease Research/1433 Formula Funds / 7 USC 3195

  • AVMA supports the Senate Appropriations Committee-passed funding for AHDR ($4 million).
  • President’s request is $0
  • S. 2375 / S. Rept. 112–163 $4,000,000
  • H.R. 5973 / H. Rept. 112-542: $3,920,000
Agency Account FY Authorized Final PL
USDA NIFA 2012 $25 million $4 million PL 112-55
USDA NIFA 2011 $25 million $2.94 million PL 112-10
USDA NIFA 2010 $25 million $2.95 million PL 111-80
USDA NIFA 2009 $25 million $2.95 million PL 111-8


  • AHDR research includes a range of research related directly to livestock/poultry/aquatic species health including lab studies and research on metabolic and reproductive diseases; effective treatment and disease prevention; techniques to minimize livestock and poultry losses during transportation; handling methods; food animal reproduction; control of animal diseases transmissible to humans; livestock care; and animal welfare.


  • Section 1433 Formula Funds have been in existence since 1977 and provide an extremely valuable source of funds for fundamental research on diseases of food producing animals. AHDR funds are critical for veterinary science departments to assist faculty in conducting research on agricultural animals and on-farm food safety programs. AHDR funds support training for graduate students in colleges and veterinary science departments. NIH grants cannot support these activities.

AVMA Contact: Gina Luke, Assistant Director, AVMA-GRD, 202.289.3204.