Another battle brews to save funding for urban agriculture

By Marc Heller | 06/18/2024 06:42 AM EDT

House appropriators are once again targeting the Agriculture Department’s urban farming program.

Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.).

Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), chair of the House Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee, during the panel's markup this month of its fiscal 2025 bill. House Appropriations Committee/YouTube

Federal efforts to expand agriculture in urban areas are facing a fight for survival in the coming fiscal year.

House Republican appropriators proposed no funding in fiscal 2025 for the Department of Agriculture’s Office of Urban Agriculture and Innovative Production, which supports crops grown on rooftops, community gardens and greenhouses and is part of the USDA’s outreach to Black and underserved communities.

That echoes a move Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Andy Harris (R-Md.) made a year ago, when he pushed through committee a bill with deep cuts to many USDA programs.


And it puts pressure on Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee Chair Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) to either go along with the budget cutters — as he initially did last year — or to leave the program unscathed.