The House Appropriations Committee approved the FY 2007 ag appropriations bill. It provides $18.4 billion in discretionary funding, $96 million less than last year's bill. The whole House may consider the bill as early as next week.

The committee extended the peanut storage and Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) programs for one month, allowing them to expire at the end of the 2002 farm bill. It rejected an amendment by Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS) to allow individual companies to test for BSE. Among the bill's highlights: Avian flu/pandemic countermeasures and monitoring funded at $80 million. Also, funds from the December 2005 supplemental, totaling $111 million, are available through FY 2007.

Food Safety and Inspection Service is funded at $853 million, $24 million above last year and $96 million above the President's request. Not included are $105 million in new user fees for meat and poultry inspection as the Administration proposed.

Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service funded at $904 million, $92 million above last year. The bill doesn't include $8 million in new user fees proposed by the Administration.

BSE detection and prevention activities funded at $90 million, the same as last year's level.

Commodity Supplemental Food Program funded at $118.3 million, $11 million above last year.

Child Nutrition Programs (mandatory) funded at $13.3 billion, $685 million above last year.

Special supplemental nutrition program for women, infants and children funded at $5.244 billion, $40 million above last year.

Food stamp program (mandatory) funded at $37.9 billion. FY 2007 participation is estimated to drop by 1.1 million participants, the Administration estimates.

Food for Peace Program (PL 480) Title II funded at $1.2 billion, an $85-million increase.

Ag Research Service funded at $1.2 billion, a $49-million cut.

Conservation Operations activities funded at $791 million, a decrease of $40 million below last year.

Foreign Market Development (FMD) program fully funded at $34.5 million; Market Access Program fully funded at $200 million. -- P. Scott Shearer, Washington, D.C., correspondent