2019-05-21 National Governors Association

Letter Regarding Importance of Federal Investment in American Agriculture

May 21, 2019

The Honorable John Hoeven
Chairman
Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Sanford Bishop Jr.
Chairman
Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Jeff Merkley
Ranking Member
Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
U.S. Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Jeff Fortenberry
Ranking Member
Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Chairman Hoeven, Ranking Member Merkley, Chairman Bishop and Ranking Member Fortenberry:

On behalf of the National Governors Association (NGA), we recognize the value of a healthy agricultural economy and the important role Congress plays by investing in American agriculture. Last Congress, governors were proud to weigh in on the development and passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. Thank you for your leadership and support of that legislation. As you look toward the Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 appropriations and funding those critical programs, NGA requests that you prioritize:

• Implementation of the 2018 Farm Bill: Governors request a continued commitment to our nation’s agricultural economy by providing full funding for the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. Funding certainty provided by this law has been critical as states implement various components, including expanding commercial agricultural export markets through the Market Access Program, monitoring and preventing invasive pests and diseases, and implementing conservation programs. The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program offers nutrition assistance to more than 40 million low-income individuals and families. As the largest food assistance program, governors recognize the importance of this benefit and believe that the program should be maintained. Further, governors support the expansion of high-speed broadband internet access to support growing businesses and promote economic development. We urge continued investment in programs that are prioritizing connectivity of rural America.

As Congress determines how to appropriately prioritize investments, NGA asks that you give our requests careful consideration. Governors and states are key partners and co-regulators alongside federal agencies and committed to the successful implementation of these priorities. We realize the difficulty of the decisions the Subcommittees must make and welcome the opportunity to work with you as Congress considers FY 2020 appropriations.

Sincerely,
Governor Janet Mills
Chair
Natural Resources Committee

Governor Larry Hogan
Acting Vice Chair
Natural Resources Committee

Cc:
Chair and Ranking Member of the Senate Committee on Appropriations
Chair and Ranking Member of the House Committee on Appropriations
The Honorable Mick Mulvaney, Director of the Office of Management and Budget

National Governors Association

Founded in 1908, the National Governors Association (NGA) is the nonpartisan organization of the nation’s 55 governors. Through NGA, governors share best practices, address issues of national and state interest and share innovative solutions that improve state government and support the principles of federalism.