The House Committee on Agriculture approved two bills for floor consideration and adopted the annual budget views and estimates letter, which outlines the Committee's budget recommendations for the federal agencies and programs under its jurisdiction for fiscal year 2011.

H.R. 3509 would reauthorize funding for the State agricultural mediation grant program. The grants fund state agricultural mediation programs that help agricultural producers, their creditors and various USDA agencies address disputes, including loan problems and USDA adverse decisions.

H.R. 3954 would authorize the conveyance of 114 acres in Leon County, Florida and would allow the U.S. Forest Service to make equivalent land exchanges within the Ocala and Apalachicola National Forests to better and more efficiently manage the lands. The bill would also clarify some boundary issues by allowing a survey to be conducted on certain areas of Florida state forestland.

The Committee approved both bills by voice vote and ordered them to be reported favorably to the House floor.

The budget views and estimates letter approved today reflects the House Agriculture Committee's position that the nutrition, farm, conservation, energy and rural development programs under the Committee's jurisdiction are providing an essential safety net during a time of continuing economic difficulty.

The budget views and estimates letter was approved by a voice vote and will be submitted to House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt of South Carolina, as required by section 301(d) of the Congressional Budget Act of 1974, as well as clause 4(f) of House Rule X.

A copy of the letter can be found on the Agriculture Committee website: http://agriculture.house.gov/inside/pubs/FY2011BudgetViewsEstimatesLetterDRAFT.pdf.