USDA History First established in 1862 by President Abraham Lincoln, who referred to it as the “People’s Department.” Became executive branch cabinet-level agency in 1889 Size and scope of the USDA expanded through The Great Depression and the New Deal era policies of President Franklin Roosevelt’s administration Today the USDA is one of the largest federal agencies, employing 100,000 people, and having a presence in every state and county in America
USDA Budget Overview USDA Spending USDA is responsible for many activities outside of the Agriculture budget function, such as conservation and nutrition assistance. Mandatory Funding Discretionary Funding USDA Funding Agriculture appropriations bill: provides funding for all of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (except Forest Service). Jurisdiction for the appropriations bill rests with the House and Senate Committees on Appropriations Interior Appropriations Bill Provides funding for Forest Service Farm Bill Healthy Hunger Free Kids Act Other Supplemental funding as needed
What is a Farm Bill? Federal legislation that guides American Farm and Food Policy for a span of years Generally, a new Farm Bill is created every 5 years First Farm Bill in 1933 (25 pages) Latest Farm Bill enacted in 2008 (663 pages) Sixteen Farm Bills enacted between 1933-2008 Timing on the 2012 Farm Bill is unclear due to ongoing budget issues
2008 Farm Bill Titles Title I: Commodities Title II: Conservation Title III: Agricultural Trade and Food Aid Title IV: Nutrition Title V: Farm Credit Title VI: Rural Development Title VII: Research Title VIII: Forestry Title IX: Energy Title X: Horticulture and Organic Agriculture Title XI: Livestock Title XII: Crop Insurance and Disaster Assistance Title XIII: Commodity Futures Title XIV: Miscellaneous Title XV: Trade and Tax Provisions
2008 Farm Bill: SAFETY NET Continued direct payment, counter-cyclical payment, and marketing loan programs for the 2008-2012 crop years. Created the Average Crop Revenue Election (ACRE) program Extended the Milk Income Loss Contract (MILC) program Created five new disaster programs.
2008 Farm Bill: CONSERVATION Reauthorized, modified and/or created several conservation programs: Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) Wetland & Grassland Reserve Program (WRP & GRP) Farmland Protection Program Changed program aspects, expansion of producer coverage
2008 Farm Bill: NUTRITION Renamed the Food Stamp Program the “Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program” Invested an additional $10.361 billion in nutrition programs Increased funding by $1.02 billion for the USDA Snack Program Raises and indexes the minimum standard deduction Increases the minimum benefit Indexes asset limits and excludes retirement and education accounts as assets Improves assistance through the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations
2008 Farm Bill: RURAL DEVELOPMENT Reauthorized and/or amended rural development loan and grant programs and authorized several new provisions, including: Rural infrastructure, economic development, and broadband and telecommunications development
2008 Farm Bill: RESEARCH Replaced the Cooperative State, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) with newly-created National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Established the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) – competitive research program
2008 Farm Bill: ENERGY Reauthorized existing programs Created new programs Supported farm and community renewable energy systems Dedicated research, education, and demonstration programs for advanced biofuels
2008 Farm Bill: SPECIALTY CROPS/ORGANICS New Title of the Farm Bill included programs for marketing, promotion, trade, and research of specialty crops (fruits, vegetables, and nuts) Focus on assistance to organic farming through research and cost-share programs. Pest and disease prevention.
Looking Forward: 2012 FARM BILL Congress writes the farm bill USDA: wants to be helpful and very involved in the process provide technical assistance, drafting assistance, data, any other useful information and support About 41 provisions in 2008 Farm Bill – no permanent budget baseline Will require $10 billion in new funding to reauthorize Largest programs: SURE, WRP, GRP, almost the entire Energy title, Value Added Producer Grants, and Rural MicroEnterprise Assistance Program
Farm Bill Resources USDA Economic Research Service Farm Bill Resources. http://www.ers.usda.gov/farmbill/ http://www.ers.usda.gov/farmbill/ Side-by-side summaries of recent farm bills National Agricultural Law Center Farm Bill Resources. http://nationalaglawcenter.org/farmbills/ http://nationalaglawcenter.org/farmbills/ Text of all farm bills and other resources Congressional Research Service, What Is the Farm Bill?, December 10, 2010. http://www.nationalaglawcenter.org/assets/crs/RS2213 1.pdf. http://www.nationalaglawcenter.org/assets/crs/RS2213 1.pdf Ten-page description of Farm Bill substance and major issues.