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Obama 2011 budget request: Agriculture Department

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By Kimberly Kindy
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, February 1, 2010; 4:39 PM

The 2011 budget proposal for the Agriculture Department calls for the agency to receive $25.7 billion, a slight dip from last year's proposed funding, for a variety of initiatives including increased food safety tests and conservation efforts, some of which are aimed at rescuing the Chesapeake Bay. It also includes cuts to federal subsidies for crop insurance and for highly profitable corporate farmers.

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Nearly one-third of the budget, $8.1 billion, is directed at the USDA's food and nutrition programs, which have experienced historic growth, with nearly one in every five Americans enrolled in at least one federal feeding program.

Another $418 million would go to expand broadband services in rural areas, an initiative Obama campaigned on in his bid for the White House. The proposed funding level is dramatically lower than last year's budget proposal of $1.3 billion.

The funding represents a $1 billion reduction in discretionary spending, which was balanced by eliminating earmarks and one-time increases in last year's budget, including $350 million in dairy farm subsidies.

The cuts to both crop insurance and "wealthy" farmers represent a second, less dramatic reform effort by the Obama administration. Last year, the president's budget called for a $10 billion cut over 10 years in direct payments to wealthy farmers. This year's proposal calls for a $2 billion cut.

For the full budget request, click here.


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