Washington DC Update - 2022 Funding Overview

June 3, 2021

President Joe Biden released his full budget request for fiscal 2022 which includes details on plans to ramp up spending at the Agriculture Department for climate research and agricultural adaptation. Under the current law, the 2022 request for discretionary budget authority to fund programs and operating expenses is $29.9 billion, almost 9 percent increase or $2.6 billion above the 2021 enacted level. Of the $2.6 billion increase, 54 percent, or $1.4 billion, are program increases and 46 percent, or $1.2 billion, is an elimination of the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) rescission. This request also includes funding for Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), Rural Development, Forest Service, food safety, research, and conservation programs.

The overall budget includes both the Administration's annual spending requests for departments and agencies as well as the sweeping, longer-term proposals under his American Jobs Plan and American Families Plan to address climate change, build roads and other infrastructure and reduce economic inequality. The $29.9 billion in budget authority that Biden is requesting for FY22 at USDA includes $914 million earmarked for climate research and resilience programs as well as clean energy. The administration proposes no cuts in farm programs, including the crop insurance program, and is requesting funding to support an estimated $10.4 billion for farm loans to an estimated 52,000 farmers, Funding for mandatory programs is estimated to be $168.1 billion, a $20 billion decrease from 2021 enacted levels.  

USDA's $29.9 billion budget request, which would be a 9% increase over fiscal 2021, is for discretionary spending programs that are subject to annual appropriations by Congress. USDA’s total estimated budget for FY22 is $198 billion, which includes the cost of farm programs, nutrition assistance and other mandatory spending programs where the cost is set by law or depends on program eligibility. Compared to FY 2021, this amount represents a decrease of almost $17.4 billion. The budget assumes a pay cost increase of 2.7 percent and includes an increase of $200 million across the Department to cover the pay and benefit increases. and the budget would fully fund USDA's network of county offices.

The 2022 fiscal year starts Oct. 1.

Of note, there is no mention in the budget of using the Commodity Credit Corp. for climate-related spending, such as a carbon bank. Total CCC spending for FY22 is estimated at $10.3 billion, far below the CCC $30 billion in spending authority. Proposals to use the CCC to support carbon markets has run into intense Republican opposition.

Climate-related spending increases in the budget include funding such as:

The Natural Resources Conservation Service's budget for conservation technical assistance would increase by $43 million to $774 million to support the administration's emphasis on helping producers implement climate-friendly farming practices.

Funding for USDA’s climate hubs, multi-agency regional centers that provide advice and analysis on climate adaptation, would increase by $3 million to $23 million in FY22.

The Agricultural Research Service’s budget authority would increase from $1.6 billion to $1.9 billion in FY22, with increases of $99 million for clean energy and $92 million for climate science.

The National Institute of Food and Agriculture, which funds extramural research at land-grant universities and other institutions, would see its budget authority increase from $1.8 billion to $2.2 billion. Some $91 million would be earmarked for climate research.

The Economic Research Service’s budget would increase from $85 million to $91 million in FY22, allowing for a $4 million increase in climate research.

To review the USDA budget proposal here.

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