USDA Budget Highlights

Proposed funding cuts USDA discretionary funding and direct payments, invests in modernization and renewable energy.

Published on: Feb 13, 2012

President Obama released his proposed budget on Monday. Included in that budget was funding for the USDA. Following are some of the highlights in the agriculture budget.

• Provides $23 billion in discretionary funding, a decrease of nearly 3 percent or almost $700 million, below the 2012 enacted level. Consistent with Administration priorities, targeted investments are made in renewable energy, housing, utilities, infrastructure, rural development, and key innovation research areas. Discretionary savings are achieved through ongoing efforts to streamline operations, reduce costs, and close offices, and these savings are redirected into critical activities in recognition of tighter budget constraints.

• Modernizes service by redirecting staff to areas of greatest need without reducing or disrupting service to customers.

• Reduces the deficit by $32 billion over 10 years by eliminating direct farm payments, decreasing subsidies to crop insurance companies, and better targeting conservation funding for high priority areas.

• Invests $6.1 billion in renewable and clean energy and environmental improvements to spur the creation of high-value jobs, make America more energy independent, and drive global competitiveness in the sector.

• Increases the 2012 funding level for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative to $325 million and targets areas that are key to American scientific leadership: human nutrition and obesity reduction; food safety; sustainable bioenergy; global food security; and climate change.

• Contributes to the job creation and economic growth goals of the White House Rural Council by continuing to fund programs that effectively promote renewable energy, job training, infrastructure investment, access to capital, worker training, and green jobs throughout rural America.

• Leverages resources and works with Federal, State, and Tribal partners to accelerate voluntary adoption of agricultural conservation practices to improve water quality.

• Provides $7 billion for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) for low-income and nutritionally at-risk pregnant and post-partum women, infants, and children up to age 5.

• Supports State, local, and Tribal efforts to serve healthy meals and snacks to schoolchildren.

• Preserves a strong Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to prevent hunger for millions of Americans.

• Conserves landscapes and promotes outdoor recreation in national forests and on working lands through the America’s Great Outdoors initiative.

• Continues efforts to restore significant ecosystems such as the California Bay-Delta, Everglades, the Great Lakes, Chesapeake Bay, and the Gulf Coast, helping to promote their ecological sustainability and resilience.