Department of Agriculture

The Federal Budget


Media contact: 202-720-4623
FY2012 Request:  $23.9 billion
FY2011 Request:  $26 billion
FY2010 Enacted:  $27 billion

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) provides leadership on issues related to food, agriculture, and natural resources, including energy, based on sound public policy, the best available science, and efficient management.  USDA focuses on further developing alternative markets for agricultural products and activities, providing financing to expand job opportunities and improve housing, utilities, and infrastructure in rural America.  The Department also works to enhance food safety, protect and manage land, improve nutrition and health, and support international agricultural and economic development.  The President’s Budget provides $23.9 billion in discretionary funding to support these important missions, a decrease of $3.2 billion from the FY 2010 enacted level. In keeping with the Administration's priority goals, departmental funding focuses on renewable energy development and innovation research -- areas critical to job creation, long-term growth and global competitiveness. The budget reflects tough choices needed to address challenging times.  Savings are created by reducing direct payments to high-income farmers, refocusing USDA’s home ownership programs, and streamlining and targeting USDA conservation programs.

Invests in American Competitiveness

  • Invests $6.5 billion to support renewable and clean energy that can spur the creation of high-value jobs, make America more energy independent, and drive global competitiveness in the sector.
  • Supports American innovation by advancing priority research with increases in funding for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative to $325 million and targets increases for research in areas that are key to American leadership such as human nutrition and obesity reduction, food safety, sustainable bioenergy, global food security, and climate change.
  • Enhances USDA’s efforts to promote the export of U.S. agricultural products through the National Export Initiative, which has the primary goal of spurring economic growth and employment opportunities.

Improves the Way Federal Dollars are Spent

  • The President’s Budget proposes to refocus assistance to rural America by tightening existing payment limits and targeting payments to only those who really need them.  Reducing payments to wealthy farmers will generate $2.5 billion in savings over 10 years while still maintaining a strong and secure safety net for production agriculture.
  • Refocuses rural housing assistance to programs that are more effective, providing more than 170,000 new homeownership opportunities, with a greater focus on low income rural borrowers.
  • Maximizes efficiency and effectiveness of forest restoration efforts to improve forest health and resiliency by combining and streamlining multiple programs.
  • Improves cost-efficiency of conservation efforts by targeting investments to critical, high-priority ecosystems, providing the highest funding levels ever for the Wetlands Reserve Program to restore and protect 271,158 acres of wetlands and providing the Environmental Quality Incentives Program over $1.4 billion for conservation assistance.

Focuses Resources Where Need is Greatest

  • Provides $7.9 billion to strengthen nutrition assistance for millions of Americans including the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, which supports 9.6 million low-income, nutritionally at-risk pregnant and post-partum women, infants and children up to age five. The Budget supports the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which touches more than 45 million lives, as well as implementation of the recent reforms to strengthen child nutrition. The Budget also proposes to restore the SNAP benefit cuts used to pay for Child Nutrition reauthorization and to suspend the benefit time limits for certain working-age adults for an additional fiscal year.  America cannot be globally competitive if too many of its people lack access to healthy foods.
  • Provides $35 million for the Healthy Food Financing Initiative to bring grocery stores and other healthy food retailers to underserved communities.