Policy Update: President Biden Releases Administrative Budget for FY 2022 - American Farmland Trust

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Policy Update: President Biden Releases Administrative Budget for FY 2022

On Friday, May 28, President Biden released the official FY 2022 Presidential Budget Request. The $6 trillion budget combines three discrete sections – the federal budget itself as well as two pieces of legislation. The budget builds upon the $1.5 trillion “skinny budget” released by the Administration in April (read the policy update here). The budget represents the Administration’s priorities and provides a blueprint for the annual appropriations process, but does not dictate the actual federal budget which is determined by Congress.

The pieces of legislation included within the document are the American Jobs Plan and the American Families Plan. The $2.3 trillion American Jobs Plan is President Biden’s infrastructure package, initially released in March, which includes major investments in transportation and roads, housing and internet, research, industry, and much more. The $1.8 trillion American Families Plan, released in April, focuses on access to education, childcare, paid leave, and poverty reduction.

The budget also proposes a $2.1 billion increase in mandatory spending, which would have to be passed by Congress. This includes additional funding for several conservation programs:

  • Increasing adoption of net-zero agriculture technology through the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP).
    • Estimated costs over 4 years are $400 million (2022 through 2025).
  • Increasing Watershed and Flood Prevention Operations by $100 million per year.
    • Estimated costs over 10 years are $1 billion.
  • Increasing Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) by $50 million per year for technology to increase drought resilience for agricultural producers.
    • Estimated costs over 10 years are $500 million.
  • Increase adoption of net-zero agriculture technology in the Healthy Forests Reserve Program.
    • Estimated costs over 4 years are $200 million (2024 through 2027).

The budget itself touches every part of the federal government, and requests $1.5 trillion in discretionary spending for the next fiscal year (starting on October 1st), which would be a 16% increase over the FY 2021 budget. The Administration plans to pay for the agenda primarily through tax increases on corporations and the very wealthy.

USDA would receive $27.9 billion for FY 2022, a 16% increase over the previous year. Climate is a major priority in the budget, with significant money going to climate initiatives across the department. There is also brief mention of the 30×30 initiative. See below for details by USDA agency (or see the full USDA budget here):

  • The Office of the Chief Economist
    • $31.1 million requested, $6.5 million of which would be dedicated to coordinate climate change work across the department.
  • Agricultural Research Service (ARS)
    • $192 million requested for work related to climate change, including:
      • $95 million for Advanced Research Projects Agency Climate (ARPA-C) activities to identify and promote revolutionary advances in climate-related applied sciences.
      • $92 million for the Agricultural Research Service to support the livestock protection, crop production, and food safety programs.
  • Economic Research Service (ERS)
    • $4 million requested for climate research while the National Agricultural Statistics Service would dedicate $7 million to improve tracking of extreme weather events and other climate issues.
  • Climate Hubs
    • $23 million requested for USDA’s 10 regional climate hubs to help farmers and ranchers adapt to and help mitigate climate change, with agencies like NRCS and ARS providing resources. Previously, the hubs operated without a dedicated budget, relying heavily on staff on loan from various agencies.
  • Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS)
    • $886 million requested for Conservation Operations (an increase of $53 million over FY 2021). Of that, $774 is for Conservation Technical Assistance.
    • $84 million requested ($5 million over the enacted levels), to increase NRCS soil mapping activities.
    • $21 million requested for NRCS to establish a coordinated, corporate approach to outreach across NRCS program delivery.
  • Farm Service Agency (FSA)
    • $10 million requested to increase Indian Highly Fractionated Land loans.
    • $6 million requested to increase the Heirs’ Property Relending Program.
  • Urban agriculture
    • $9 million requested for USDA’s urban agriculture program.
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
    • $1.2 billion requested (up from $1.1 billion in FY 2021) for “food safety efforts such as infant and maternal health and nutrition, shortages and supply chain, capacity building, and infrastructure.”
  • Civilian Climate Corps
    • $46 million requested to further the development of the Civilian Climate Corps.
  • Equity initiatives
    • $6 million requested for the USDA Office of Civil Rights, and another $2 million requested to increase and provide an additional outreach and assistance for socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers and veteran farmers and ranchers.
  • Climate initiatives
    • $270 million requested across USDA for investments in agricultural research to advance innovation and the application of science based and data driven agricultural decisions and practices.
  • Forest Service
    • $37 million requested for the Forest Service will allow the agency to substantially increase its scientific contributions related to climate mitigation and adaptation in the forest sector.
About the Author
Emily Liss

Federal Policy Associate

eliss@farmland.org

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