Agriculture Budget Proposes Increases in Key Areas Veneman Points to Increases in Farm Program Spending, Homeland | USDA Newsroom
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Release No. 0031.02
 
Printable VersionPrintable Version
 
Contact:
USDA Office of Communication (202) 720-4623
Alisa Harrison (202) 720-4623
 

*EMBARGOED UNTIL 2:00 pm

AGRICULTURE BUDGET PROPOSES INCREASES IN KEY AREAS
Veneman Points to Increases in Farm Program Spending, Homeland Security, Food Safety, Trade and Feeding Assistance Programs

WASHINGTON, Feb. 4, 2002---Agriculture Secretary Ann M. Veneman today released details of the Bush Administration's proposed FY 2003 USDA budget, which includes full funding for farm safety net programs, substantial increases for homeland security, funds meat inspection programs at record levels, increases spending for international trade and provides greater resources for low-income Americans who need food assistance.

"The President's budget underscores the importance of spending in key areas significant to agriculture," Veneman said.

In a detailed briefing, Veneman noted that the budget supports the goals outlined in the Administration's policy book, Food and Agriculture Policy: Taking Stock for a New Century, released last summer.

"The proposed budget reflects the Bush Administration's commitment to support an additional $73.5 billion over 10 years for farm programs," said Veneman. "This budget supports strong farm programs, helps protect the food supply and helps low-income Americans in need of assistance."

Veneman announced that the budget proposes a $146 million increase for programs to protect the nation's food supply from animal and plant pests and diseases, strengthen food safety programs and support specific research activities. In his State of the Union address, President Bush stressed the need for more homeland security protections.

"This budget builds on our efforts to protect agriculture and the food supply from intentional and unintentional risks," Veneman said. "This increase, along with $328 million in supplemental funds provided in the 2002 Defense Appropriations Act, provides needed resources for more border inspectors at ports of entry, increased security at our laboratories and new research into emerging diseases that threaten crops, livestock and our food supply."

In addition, "The 2003 budget reflects our commitment to a nutrition safety net by including a record $41 billion for domestic nutrition assistance programs, such as the Food Stamp, Child Nutrition and the Women, Infants and Children programs," Veneman said. "The budget also allows for more than $2 billion in contingency funds to cover any unanticipated increases in domestic feeding program participation levels."

The budget proposes legislation that would add $4.2 billion to the Food Stamp Program over the next 10 years to include eligibility for legal immigrants who have resided in the U.S. for at least five years, streamline the applications process and revise eligibility requirements for working families.

The FY 2003 budget calls for $74.4 billion in spending, an increase of $11 billion over the FY 2002 budget submitted by the President last year, and $6 billion above actual budget outlays in FY 2001. The FY 2002 budget is estimated to reach $76.6 billion due to reasons related to the slowed economy, homeland security and other uncontrollable events such as forest fires.

Additional highlights of the FY 2003 USDA budget include:

§ Record funding for the Food Safety and Inspection Service at $905 million, a $28 million increase above 2002.

§ $6.4 billion in spending for international trade programs, a $50 million increase, designed to promote U.S. agricultural exports, develop long-term markets overseas and improve world food security.

§ $6.1 billion in spending for the Natural Resources & Environment Agencies. This includes approximately $1.5 billion in funding for the National Fire Plan; a $36 million increase in conservation operations in the Natural Resources Conservation Service; and a $50 million increase for National Forest System to support programs such as the National Energy Plan and wilderness management activities.

§ $2.3 billion to support ongoing research programs in high priority areas such as research on new prevention and control strategies for emerging, reemerging and exotic disease of animals such as Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy (BSE) and Foot and Mouth Disease research. Other research will support the development of biotechnology, industrial and bioenergy products, environmental protection, and expanded market opportunities.

§ $11.6 billion to support rural community development programs.

Veneman said that the proposed budget reduces funding in some areas, including elimination of earmarked research projects so that peer-reviewed and national priority research work could be increased.

The budget also examines the programs and services the Department manages and proposes several management initiatives to better integrate computer systems and technology to provide employees and customers the necessary tools to efficiently operate and deliver services in the 21st Century.

"We must look at ways to better serve our customers and ensure programs are delivering their intended purpose," said Veneman. "We look forward to working with the Congress in passing this budget, which supports farmers and ranchers and increases benefits to consumers."

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Note to Reporters: A complete guide to the FY 2003 agriculture budget is available at http://www.usda.gov . Resource materials include a complete budget summary, fact sheets, camera-ready graphics, transcripts, audio feeds and press releases. For additional information, please contact USDA Communications at 202-720-4623.