Late last week, the White House released President Biden’s proposed budget for the fiscal year 2022, calling for $6 trillion in spending as well as controversial tax provisions. The Hagstrom Report says the president’s budget calls for USDA discretionary spending at $27.9 billion, a 16 percent increase over the previous year. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says the proposal calls for $700 million requested for the Reconnect Program to provide access to quality broadband for rural residents. The proposal would invest in critical research and development capacity for farmers.
Vilsack says American farmers must be able to compete in world markets to thrive, all while protecting the health of America’s soil and water. The budget request would provide $4 billion for USDA’s research, education, and outreach programs focused on making investments in agricultural research to put science and data-driven tools and American technologies in the hands of farmers. The budget also increases funding for climate-smart agriculture, climate resilience, and clean energy by almost $1.5 billion. House Ag Committee Chair David Scott says he applauds the focus in the budget on important investments in rural America and food systems, particularly in rural broadband.