Appropriations Moving Forward

Appropriations Moving Forward


Congress passed, and the President signed H.R. 4366, the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2024, which provides funding for the following six bills: Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies; Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies; Energy and Water Development; Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies; Military Construction, Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies; Transportation, House and Urban Development, and Related Agencies.


Provisions of interest include:


  • $3.5 million appropriation for the administration and enforcement of the Horse Protection Act. AHC requested a funding level of $4 million. The Horse Protection Act is a federal law that prohibits sored horses from participating in shows, exhibitions, sales, or auctions. It also prohibits the transportation of sored horses to or from any of these events.
  • Continued de-funding of horse slaughter.
  • The Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program was allocated $10 million.
  • $15 million was allocated to fund the implementation of a controversial program to provide electronic tagging of cattle in the U.S.


Next up is the 2024 package of appropriations for Defense, Financial Services-General Government, Homeland Security, Labor-HHS-Education, Legislative Branch, and State-Foreign Operations. This tranche has a deadline of Friday, March 22.


Speculation continues around the fate of the Farm Bill. There is a push to take it up after the remaining 2024 appropriation bills clear, but negotiations over nutrition and climate programs remain contentious.


The Biden Administration has released its Fiscal Year 2025 budget requests, which we will review in an upcoming newsletter.

Labor Shortage

Labor Shortage


“The bottom line is that we need a migrant worker program that respects and enforces our immigration laws while providing these industries with the workforce they need.”


That headline sums up the mission of the Agricultural Labor Working Group (ALWG) formed by the House Agriculture Committee, which just released its final report.


The ALWG identified the factors contributing to a shortage of domestic workers and the impact this shortage is having on farms and ranches. The study focused on the H-2A visa program for non-immigrant agricultural workers.


Key findings and recommendations are based on extensive stakeholder input gathered during roundtable sessions and additional consultations. The report breaks down the policy recommendations into three categories: those that earned unanimous consent, those with majority support, and recommendations that were excluded.


Some of the recommendations were adopted with unanimous support include:


  • Simplifying and streamlining the application process.
  • Granting year-round industries access to the H-2A program
  • Federal Heat Standard for H2-A workers
  • Wage reform


The ALWG hopes this report will guide public policy development and result in effective, targeted bipartisan legislation.


The report is a quick read. Let us know what you think at


“Gig” worker, farmhand, independent contractor, or employee?

“Gig” worker, farmhand, independent contractor, or employee?


Employers need to sort that out as of March 11, 2024, to be in compliance with a Department of Labor (DOL) rule requiring employers to engage in a six-factor test for determining whether a worker is an employee or an independent contractor under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The new regulation expands the reach of federal labor laws requiring employers to extend benefits and protections to workers, who, according to a complicated six-point checklist, may have to be reclassified from independent contractors to employees. For employers, this means significant increases in payroll costs to cover overtime pay, minimum wage, unemployment insurance, and Social Security benefits.


For the workers, it means a loss of flexibility, portability, and training opportunities. Independent contractors are a big part of the horse industry. Some of the jobs that would be most affected by this new rule change include farriers, trainers, jockeys, braiders, veterinarians, and other stable services. This rule change could force some of the smaller barns to alter the way that they do business.


Read more about how the rule may impact the equine industry in an Op/ed by Julie Broadway, President of the American Horse Council.


The DOL issued guidance that will help in applying these factors and making determinations on whether a worker can lawfully be classified as an independent contractor.


Employers, Members of Congress, and a business coalition are all pushing back on the regulation arguing against it on several fronts including that it is an overreach of authority, overly burdensome, and unconstitutional.