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Highlights from the President's FY 2018 Budget Request: Dept. of Agriculture

May 26, 2017

Unless otherwise noted, all FY 2018 figures are from the department’s budget justification, and all FY 2017 figures are from committee reports for the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2017.

The president’s FY 2018 request for discretionary budget authority to fund programs and operating expenses is $21.0 billion, approximately $4.8 billion below the 2017 estimate in discretionary program funding for the Department of Agriculture (USDA). This includes funding for Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Rural Development, Forest Service, food safety, research, and conservation activities. However, the budget does not include the USDA reorganization plan that was announced by Secretary Sonny Perdue on May 11, which proposes a change in status for Rural Development.

Research, Education, and Economics

REE responsibilities are carried out by four agencies:

  • Agricultural Research Service (ARS) conducts intramural research in natural and biological sciences would be $993 million ($117.2 million, 15.1 percent decrease). The budget proposes the termination of “lower-priority” and extramural research projects and closure of 17 laboratories, locations, or worksites;
  • National Institute of Food and Agriculture would be reduced to $1.3 billion ($105.9 million, 7.8 percent decrease);
  • Economic Research Service (ERS) would decrease by 11.3 percent ($9.8 million) to $77.0 million; and,
  • National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), which conducts the quinquennial Census of Agriculture, would increase 8.6 percent to $186.0 million.

Rural Development

Within Rural Development, the budget provides $162.0 million to establish a new account for Rural Economic Infrastructure Grants. The single account would support initiatives under the following program authorities: Distance Learning and Telemedicine, Broadband, Community Facilities, and housing repair for very low income residents. Of this total, up to $80 million will be set aside to assist the Appalachian region.

The proposed budget eliminates the discretionary programs of Rural Business-Cooperative Service (-$65.3 million). 

federal budget, fy18 budget, usda