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Government Relations & Washington Update

May 2021

Biden FY 2022 Budget Proposal Released
On May 28th, President Biden released his proposed budget for fiscal year 2022.  The budget proposal calls for a total of $6 trillion in federal spending, with significant increases projected for most federal departments.  The proposed discretionary budget for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) is $29.9 billion, which reflects a 9 percent increase or $2.6 billion above the 2021 enacted level. Of the $2.6 billion increase, $1.4 billion is for program increases and $1.2 billion, is an elimination of the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) rescission.

The USDA budget includes $4 billion to support research to advance the competitiveness of U.S. agriculture, promote food security and increase climate change research. The budget provides $1.9 billion to support core research projects of the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) covering a wide range of critical problems facing American agriculture, ranging from animal and crop protection and production, new product development, environmental stewardship, food safety, and human nutrition.   The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) would receive $1.9 billion to support extramural agricultural research, education, and extension activities.  Included in the NIFA total is $700 million for competitive grants through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the fully authorized amount for the program, which is currently funded at $435 million in FY 2021.  A significant increase of $70 million for the Hatch capacity funding is also included which would move funding from $259 million up to $329 million.

The Economic Research Service (ERS) is proposed to receive $91 million, up from $85 million in FY 2021, which includes $4 million in new support for climate science research. For the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), the Budget includes $194 million, including $46 million for the Census of Agriculture and $7 million to help measure and inform climate science research.

Below is a summary of key accounts:

ACCOUNT   FY2021 FINAL FY2022 President
Office of Chief Economist $24.192 million $31 million
Economic Research Service $85.476 million $91 million
NASS $183.9 million  $193.6 million
ARS Salaries and Expenses $1.491 billion $1.9 billion
ARS Buildings and Facilities $35.7 million $45.4 million
Hatch $259 million $329 million
1890’s Research and Extension   $135 million $155 million
AFRI  $435 million $700 million
Smith Lever  $315 million $315 million

The FY 2022 budgets for USDA’s research, education and economics agencies represent the largest proposed increases for agricultural research in quite some time.  However, it is unclear how Congress will respond to the Biden budget.  In order to achieve such increases, the budget allocation for the Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee will need to be significantly higher than previous years.  AAEA recently signed a coalition letter urging for increased allocations for overall agriculture spending.  The House is expected to be the first to act on appropriations, with Appropriations Committee Chair, Rosa DeLauro indicating her plans for the committee to complete action on appropriations bills in June with House floor consideration in July.