Tuesday, February 9, 2016

FY 2017 budget and Agriculture

The President’s FY 2017 Budget provides $24.6 billion in discretionary resources for the Department of Agriculture (USDA) to invest in rural communities; rural youth; beginning farmers and ranchers; nutrition assistance for vulnerable populations; agricultural research; food safety; and natural resources. This includes: • Investing in rural America through programs such as the Business and Industry loan guarantee and other business programs to create or preserve over 55,000 jobs; increasing energy independence through the Rural Energy for America Program yielding nearly 290 million kilowatt hours of renewable energy; improving the infrastructure in Rural America by providing 1.7 million people new or improved water facilities; supporting almost 1,000 additional essential community facilities; expanding the availability of broadband by nearly tripling the number of grants provided for improving access in unserved rural area; and providing home ownership opportunities to nearly 167,000 rural residents. • Enhancing the effectiveness of program delivery across the country in areas of critical need, including over 900 rural persistent poverty counties through investment in place-based initiatives, like StrikeForce, Rural Corps, the Rural Child Poverty Program and Rural Home Visits. • Supporting new and beginning farmers and ranchers, including military veterans through mentorship and educational opportunities, education, and easier access to farm credit. • Ensuring access to credit for over 43,000 farmers and ranchers to cover operating costs and purchase or refinance farm property. • Serving 3.4 million individuals in food insecure countries through the McGovern-Dole Program with another 68,000 individuals assisted through the Local and Regional Food Aid Procurement program. • Providing the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) the resources it needs to support the projected number of participants, which will improve birth outcomes and support child development. • Investing $12 billion in mandatory funding over 10 years to expand the Summer Electronic Benefit Transfer for Children Program on a permanent and nationwide basis to improve food security and nutrition for low-income children. • Providing a total of $700 million for Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) competitive research grants, including $375 million in discretionary funding and $325 million in mandatory funding to address key research needs. Also provides $1.1 billion for intramural research and $95 million in critical laboratory infrastructure investments needed for USDA to conduct quality scientific agricultural research. • Supporting activities to increase the resiliency of the Nation’s natural resources including landscape and watershed restoration, hazardous fuels reduction, additional recreational opportunities, and historic levels of financial and technical assistance on private lands. • Enhancing the animal disease response infrastructure to help prepare for and minimize the impact of animal disease outbreaks, such as highly pathogenic avian influenza. Reforms: • Brings about a fundamental shift in wildfire funding, investing in programs to improve the resilience of the Nation’s forests and rangelands and providing a stable funding source for wildfire suppression. • Proposes smart and targeted reforms to crop insurance subsidies that reduce the cost of the program to the taxpayer, while maintaining a strong safety net for farmers. Under the President’s leadership, we have turned our economy around and created 14 million jobs. Our unemployment rate is below five percent for the first time in almost eight years. Nearly 18 million people have gained health coverage as the Affordable Care Act has taken effect. And, we have dramatically cut our deficits by almost three-quarters and set our Nation on a more sustainable fiscal path. Read more about USDA's FY 2017 Budget.

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