- 2013 Department of Agriculture Budget Request: $24.1 billion (+$335.0 million)
- 2013 Research, Education, and Economics Request: $2.6 billion (+$68.0 million)
The proposed budget for research, education, and economics is 2.7 percent more than the FY 2012 level. Although discretionary research programs faired comparatively well, several mandatory research programs authorized in the 2008 Farm Bill were not funded; USDA did not include these programs in the FY 2013 budget since these programs expire in FY 2012.
The National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA), formerly the Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service, partners with extramural academic institutions to conduct research, education, and extension activities. NIFA would receive $1.2 billion in funding (+3.1 percent).
Within NIFA, the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) would receive $325 million for competitive extramural research grants. At this level, AFRI would receive a 22.9 percent budget increase, a record high funding level if enacted. The new resources would be directed to biofuel production and associated land-use changes (+$30 million), climate change adaptation for agricultural production systems (+$3.7 million), international food security (+$7.2 million), food safety ($2.2 million), and nutrition and obesity prevention (+$7.2 million). The NIFA Fellows program, which supports graduate student research, would receive $5.2 million in additional funding. The AFRI Foundational Research programs, which support fundamental and applied research in priority areas, would be increased by $3.2 million.
The Agricultural Research Service (ARS) conducts intramural research in the areas of natural and biological science. It would receive $1.1 billion in FY 2013, $7.9 million less than FY 2012. Several programmatic areas would receive new funding in FY 2013. The largest proposed increase would address environmental challenges facing agricultural production. The budget includes an increase of $25 million to conduct research that will help account for value of ecosystem services. ARS will organize a “sustainable, continent-wide infrastructure to assess the condition and trends of the Nation’s agroecosystems,” according to USDA’s budget documents. ARS will also partner with NOAA to establish a Regional Integrated Science and Assessments program in the Midwest, and will enhance ongoing international agricultural modeling. A $3 million funding increase is also proposed for repair of ARS laboratories. Six research facilities would be closed; 12 were closed under the FY 2012 enacted budget.
The National Agricultural Library would be flat funded at $21 million. One and half million dollars would be reallocated for the development of scientific databases on carbon sequestration and greenhouse gas emissions, tillage and management studies, and conservation program benefits.
The increases within ARS would be offset by the elimination of $20 million in lower priority extramural projects. Additionally, ARS proposes program reallocations totaling $50.4 million to address the nation’s most critical research needs. One example of a proposed reallocation is $600,000 within crop production research to expand activities to identify, acquire, and secure unprotected plant genetic resources. Additionally, $7.6 million would be reallocated for research on management tools for soil-borne plant pathogens and parasites, and $3 million would be reprogrammed for research on invasive pests.
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