USDA sees $3B cut in budget

Feb. 6, 2006 at 6:27 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. Department of Agriculture request of $93 billion for fiscal year 2007 is a $3 billion drop from the current year's budget.

President George Bush on Monday sent Congress a $2.77 budget for fiscal year 2007, which begins Oct. 1, with healthy increases for the departments of Defense and Homeland Security. The Agriculture Department, one of the largest in government, was among those asked to hold down spending.

"The president's agriculture budget provides important resources for farmers and ranchers, while doing our part to avoid passing on the deficit to our children and grandchildren," department Secretary Mike Johanns said in a release.

The department said that Agriculture was given some $96 billion in fiscal year 2006. Of the $93 billion asked for for next year, $71.3 billion is for mandatory programs such as nutrition assistance and conservation programs.

The Agriculture Department predicted food stamp participation to drop by 1 million to some 25.9 million people in 2007. The department has earmarked $34.8 billion for the food stamp program.

Also $4 billion was proposed to continue conservation programs called for in the 2020 Farm Bill.

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