Ag’s place in Biden’s budget request

Ag’s place in Biden’s budget request
Apr 14, 2021

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The USDA could see its department funding increase by 16 percent

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) could see its funding increase by billions of dollars if Congress accepts President Biden’s budget request.

On April 9, the Office of Management and Budget submitted President Biden’s request for fiscal year 2022 discretionary funding to the Senate Appropriations Committee.

The total package, worth about $1.5 trillion, would see the USDA receive $27.8 billion. This figure would represent a $3.8 billion, or 16 percent increase from the 2021 budget.

The USDA would use its increased spending capacity to accomplish multiple goals.

These include expanding broadband access.

The USDA would set aside an additional $65 million for Reconnect, the Rural e-Connectivity Program compared to the 2021 enacted level.

Bringing high-speed internet to underserved communities “would serve as an economic equalizer for rural America, while the work of installing broadband would create high-paying union jobs with benefits in rural communities,” the president’s proposal says.

Another item on the proposed budget would allow the USDA to invest in research to benefit farmers.

President Biden is asking for $4 billion, or $647 million above the 2021 funding levels, for department research, education and outreach programs.

“These investments in agricultural research would advance innovation and the application of science-based and data driven tools to put American technologies into the hands of farmers,” the document reads.

President Biden’s proposal also calls for rural stakeholders to work together to address rural poverty.

The USDA would receive $32 million to help people in high poverty communities access federal resources.

Agriculture Secretary Vilsack is encouraged by President Biden’s proposals for his department.

These investments represent an opportunity to address multiple issues facing farmers and rural America, he said.

“This is our moment to solve big challenges by acting boldly - to close the broadband gap facing rural America; to work with farmers, ranchers and producers to transform our nation’s food system and build new markets here and abroad,” he said in a statement.

Farms.com has contacted members of the U.S. ag community for comment on President Biden’s budget proposals.

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