Jun 1, 2021
Sustainable ag group breaks down president’s $6T budget request
The Biden-Harris Administration May 28 released the President’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2022 budget request.
The detailed proposal for FY 2022 (October 1, 2021 – September 30, 2022) contains a significant increase in funding for the USDA – nearly $4 billion in additional spending (+16.7%) that closely aligns with the President’s vision for major investments in infrastructure and jobs, outlined in the draft budget released earlier this year.
Conservation and climate change is a focus of the Administration’s budget with modest new funding dedicated to helping farmers adapt to and mitigate climate change. This includes $300 million in new funding for climate and conservation programs, on-farm net-zero energy production, and the creation of a Civilian Climate Corps.
“While climate change is a clear focus of the President’s Budget, it falls short of the transformative investments in working lands conservation programs, like the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), for which farmers, farm advocates, and Members of Congress have called. Additional investments in conservation technical assistance, with dedicated funding for climate science supporting disadvantaged communities and climate hubs will help farmers adopt and expand conservation practices but may not be enough to ensure producers are at the center of our nation’s response to climate change,” said Eric Deeble, policy director for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC).
Research and extension programs would receive considerable new investments, with both the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) and the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Extension (SARE) program receiving full funding of $700 million (+$265 million) and $60 million (+$20 million) while other integrated activities like the Organic Research and Extension Initiative (OREI) saw more modest increases (+$4 million). The budget would provide significant support for climate science research at the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Economic Research Service (ERS), and the new Advanced Research Projects Agency Climate (ARPA-C).
“Research and extension is a particularly bright spot in the President’s budget, which calls for major new investments in research to address the effects of the changing climate, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, and the systemic discrimination that affects our food system. This is the surest sign that USDA wants to “build back better” to a more resilient and equitable food system in the years to come,” Deeble said.
NSAC also appreciates the President’s call for continued support for programs like the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP) and the Farming Opportunities Training and Outreach Program (FOTO) at funding levels comparable to previous years, and the Value-Added Producer Grant Program (VAPG) which saw a modest increase of $3 million. Coupled with resources already made available through previous coronavirus response packages, these programs are well poised to meet the needs of new farmers and those seeking to create innovative new products and expand their markets.
Above, President Biden President Joe Biden listens during a February meeting in the White House Situation Room. Photo: Adam Schultz/The White House