Written by: Leah Wilkinson | September 21, 2023
Did you know that 46 states end their fiscal years on June 30? Only four states, Alabama (Sept. 30), Michigan (Sept. 30), Texas (Aug. 31) and New York (March 31) are different.
September 30. Each year, the date comes and goes across the world. To some, it may be a birthday, an anniversary or finally the date of the concert you have been waiting for. To many, it is just another day on the calendar. But for those in Washington, D.C., the date looms larger and larger each year. Why is it important and why should the animal food industry care?
Sept. 30 is the last day of the fiscal year in the United States. I was curious how Sept. 30 came about to be the magic fiscal year date, so a little Google search gave me a history lesson. Initially, the U.S. government’s fiscal year ran on the calendar year until 1843 when an adjustment to the law changed the fiscal year to end on June 30. That lasted for 130 years until 1977 when the fiscal year was changed again to run on the current Oct. 1 to Sept. 30 cycle. The fiscal historians in Congress say that the fiscal year was changed in order to give Congress more time to pass the annual appropriations bills. It seems like this has been a long-standing challenge!
It’s hard to avoid the news that this year seems no different, and Congress is going to need additional time to pass its 13 appropriations bills that fund the different parts of the federal government. What is known is that the days left in this fiscal year can now be counted only on my fingers and Sept. 30 is going to come very quickly. What is unknown is what will happen after Sept. 30. Will Congress be able to find some short-term agreement to a continuing resolution (CR), a stopgap measure which funds the government for a specified length of time at previous levels? Or, will the discord continue and the government shutdown? And if so, for how long?
There are many government programs that impact the animal food industry that could be impacted by a government shutdown. We will cover those in another blog if a shutdown seems likely. Let’s focus today on what other government programs and authorities expire on Sept. 30 unless reauthorized.
The farm bill and its programs technically “expire” on Sept. 30 if not renewed; however it doesn’t mean these programs are dead or aren’t funded via other means. In most farm bills, it’s taken past the five-year mark to complete the work and this year will be no different. In the meantime, the American Feed Industry Association continues to inform members of Congress why it is important to get a and the opportunity it provides to help agriculture and the feed industry. Increased funding for agriculture research will spur scientific breakthroughs and innovation. Growth in market access and development programs will ensure U.S. animal food exports can continue growing in key markets. Awareness, technical assistance and expertise is needed within the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to properly use the feed management standard as a conservation for livestock producers. These are just a few things important to the animal food industry beyond the obvious of having a healthy agricultural sector.
Other user fee programs, like the Animal Drug User Fee Act (ADUFA), also expire if not reauthorized. The AFIA has urged Congress to accept the Senate version of ADUFA, which contains language that would establish a new regulatory category of animal food additives that do not provide nutrition but act within the animal’s digestive system to provide health benefits, reduce the environmental impact of livestock production and address human food safety concerns. The Innovative FEED Act is needed to demonstrate these products are safe and allow our farmers and ranchers to compete globally.
It’s not just agriculture programs that need action: the annual National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which authorizes defense spending that is then given in the yearly appropriations process; and many tax credits are set to expire, such as the research and development credit that many animal food companies use to help offset that investment.
The next several days, weeks or months could be very interesting in our nation’s Capitol.