NFU: President Biden’s Budget Would Boost Climate Spending
In his proposed budget for fiscal year 2022, President Joe Biden requested a 17 percent increase in discretionary funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (UDSA).
Much of that additional funding would be dedicated to climate efforts across the agency. This includes climate research, tracking extreme weather events, and tools to help farmers and ranchers adapt to and mitigate climate extremes. Programs and offices that facilitate civil rights investigations, urban agriculture, support for farmers who have lost land due to heirs property issues, nutrition assistance for women and children, rural broadband expansion, and guaranteed loans for rural housing would also see a boost in spending.
Though Congress is unlikely to take all of the President’s recommendations into account, it’s a starting point for its appropriations negotiations process, which will occur over the coming months. To guide that process, National Farmers Union (NFU) submitted testimony to the House and Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittees, outlining the organization’s priorities and recommendations for next year’s funding.
One issue NFU urged appropriators to direct resources to is covid-19 recovery. The group noted that the pandemic created “severe supply chain disruptions that led to lower prices for farmers and difficulty selling crops and livestock” and “resulted in unprecedented levels of stress in rural communities and on farms and ranches.”As a remedy, NFU requested ample funding to address these challenges and improve the resilience of our farm and food system. More specifically, the organization urged support for programs that strengthen local and regional food processing infrastructure, enforce antitrust legislation, protect farmers from anticompetitive behavior, and improve mental health resources in rural communities.
The other big challenge farmers are facing, according to NFU, is climate change. In order to help farmers adapt to and mitigate this crisis, it suggested a substantial investment in tools and mechanisms that encourage the implementation of practices that reduce greenhouse emissions, sequester carbon in the soil, and produce renewable energy. Furthermore, NFU called for robust funding for cooperative development programs, produce food safety outreach, and USDA Farm Loan Programs.
National Farmers Union advocates on behalf of nearly 200,000 American farm families and their communities. We envision a world in which farm families and their communities are respected, valued, and enjoy economic prosperity and social justice.