Government Relations & Washington Update
President Biden Releases FY 2023 Budget Request
On March 28th, President Biden released his budget proposal for fiscal year 2023. The proposal had been delayed as Congress worked to finalize appropriations for 2022. The proposed budget would increase overall domestic spending by about 7% over current levels. USDA discretionary spending would be increased by $3.8 billion, with climate, conservation and clean energy being identified as priority areas for new funding.
Agriculture research would see approximately $500 million in additional investment across USDA’s Research, Education and Economics agencies going from $3.5 billion in FY 2022 to a proposed $4 billion in FY 2023. USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS) discretionary spending is requested at $100 million for FY 2023, up from $85 million in FY 2022. $2 million of the increase will be used to support climate science activities. The request seeks $217 million in discretionary spending at USDA’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), up from $184 million in FY 2022.
The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) would increase to $1.9 billion, up from $1.6 billion in FY 2022. The new resources for ARS would include $127 million for “climate science and adaptation and resilience research,” $101 million for clean energy research and development, $5 million for USDA Climate Hubs, and $75 million for “additional high priority investments.”
For the National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), the discretionary spending would be $1.8 billion, up from FY 2022’s $1.6 billion. The Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) would see the largest increase to NIFA programs. The President’s budget proposes $564 million, a $129 million increase over FY 2022. Similar to ARS, new resources would be focused on climate-smart agriculture, nutrition security, and the application of clean energy.
Below is a table showing selected accounts for ARS and NIFA:
|ACCOUNT||FY 2022 FINAL||FY 2023 President|
|ERS||$87.8 million||$100 million|
|NASS||$190.1 million||$217 million|
|OCE||$27.3 million||$32 million|
|ARS Salaries and Expenses||$1.633 billion||$1.9 billion|
|ARS Building and Facilities||$127.8 million||$45 million|
|Hatch||$260 million||$265 million|
|AFRI||$445 million||$564 million|
|Smith Lever||$320 million||$320 million|
|AGARDA||$2 million||$4.9 million|
Toombs Named Interim NIFA Director
With the departure of Dr. Carrie Castille from the position of NIFA Director, USDA has announced that Dr. Dione Toombs will serve as Interim Director. Dr. Toombs assumed the Interim Director position on April 11th. Previously, Dr. Toombs was Director of the Office of the Chief Scientist (OCS), where she provided leadership on a wide range of issues affecting science programs and science policy in agricultural research, education, and economics. She directed and coordinated activities of OCS to strengthen science and science leadership, improve national coordination, and enhance outreach and awareness.
With over a decade of USDA service, Dr. Toombs has significantly contributed to USDA’s agricultural research, education, and Extension services while serving in various leadership roles, including heading the Division of Nutrition at NIFA. Additionally, Dr. Toombs served as the National Program Leader (NPL) for NIFA’s Agriculture Food and Research Initiative (AFRI), leading large competitive grant programs to fund research into nutrition, food science and technology, and food safety.
Dr. Toombs earned her Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences from Howard University, her Master of Science degree in Food Science from Alabama A & M University, and her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Bethune-Cookman University.