The Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies appropriations were signed into law on Friday, November 18th as part of the first appropriations "minibus", the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012 (H.R.2112). The bill provides $17.5 billion in discretionary spending for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) which is $72 million (0.4 percent) less than FY 2011 and $1.8 billion (9.4 percent) less than the President's request. The projected USDA R&D investment in the bill is $1.9 billion, $120 million (6.0 percent) less than last year and $136 million (6.7 percent) less than the request. The Agricultural Research Service, the USDA's intramural funding program, is funded at $1.1 billion, a $39 million (3.4 percent) cut in total budget from FY 2011 while the National Institute for Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the USDA's extramural funding program, received $1.2 billion, a $13 million (1.0 percent) cut from last year. The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), NIFA's competitive funding program which has seen gains in recent years and was slated for an increase in the President's request, was flat funded at $264 million. The House bill had included a prohibition on funding the implementation of the June 3rd USDA departmental regulation on climate change adaptation, but the conference report does not contain that provision.
While the majority of USDA funding was settled in the "minibus," one remaining agency -- the Forest Service -- had to wait for passage of the FY 2012 Consolidated Appropriations Act (H.R. 2055), signed into law on December 23. R&D at the Forest Service was cut by $7 million below FY 2011 levels, a 2.1 percent reduction, but $3 million higher than the Administration's request.