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Committee approves $20.7M to advance Yazoo Backwater Area Project

By Kaitlin Howell

WASHINGTON (WJTV) – On Wednesday, U.S. Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-Miss.) announced the Senate Appropriations Committee passed an appropriations measure that includes funding to support flood control and water infrastructure projects in Mississippi. The senator said the measure includes $20.7 million to advance the Yazoo Backwater Area Project.

The FY2022 Energy and Water Development (EWD) Appropriations Bill was approved by the committee Wednesday, 25-5.

“The decades of neglect to the Yazoo Backwater Area Project have cost Mississippians far too much. More recent severe storms and flooding highlight the immense amount of work that needs to be done,” said Hyde-Smith. “Including funding in this bill to move the pump project closer toward construction is critical, and I will continue to fight to see that it becomes law. There are more hurdles to clear, but I am hopeful we’ll get it done.”

The USACE Vicksburg District is currently utilizing $11.2 million to carry out preconstruction, engineering, and design activities.

Hyde-Smith also voted on Wednesday with the Senate Appropriations Committee to advance a funding measure that supports agricultural interests in Mississippi. The measure, which funds USDA agriculture, rural development, conservation, food safety, and nutrition assistance programs, was approved, 25-5.

The Senate bill recommends $7.03 billion in supplemental disaster assistance for payments to producers who have suffered losses due to hurricanes, floods, winter storms, and other qualifying natural disasters that occurred in 2020 and 2021. This funding includes $750 million for livestock producers.

Labor shortages limit catfish supplies in Mississippi

Other items included in the measure:

  • Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) – Increased funding for CWD research and development, in addition to added funding for state CWD monitoring activities.
  • Cattle Contract Library – Funding for the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) to establish a cattle contract library and funding for AMS enforcement of the Packers and Stockyard Act.
  • Warmwater Aquaculture Research – Funding for the U.S. Agricultural Research Services (ARS) at Stoneville to continue warmwater research to advance technologies that improve the efficiency, profitability and sustainability of aquaculture production.
  • Catfish Inspections – Language directing the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service to continue the catfish inspection program and to ensure foreign imports meet the U.S. food safety standards.
  • ARS Extramural Research – Continues funding for ARS research projects involving Mississippi State University, the University of Mississippi, and other state institutions.
  • Institute of Child Nutrition – Increased funding for the Institute of Child Nutrition at the University of Mississippi.

In addition to the two measures, the Appropriations Committee on Wednesday also approved the FY2022 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations Bill. All three measures are now available for consideration by the full Senate.