Good News in President's Proposed 2011 USDA Budget

      Posted On: February 13, 2010

On February 1st, President Obama issued a $3.8 trillion budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2011 on Monday, in which the White House allocates $149 billion for USDA.

While his proposed FY 2011 budget actually decreases the overall amount of discretionary spending available to USDA, it also prioritizes a number of new initiatives in line with the goals of the Know your Farmer, Know your Food initiative. Congress will now use the President’s proposed budget as a guide in their budget and appropriations process. Not everything that the President includes in his budget will ultimately get authorized and appropriated.
The Farmers Market Coalition has read through the FY 2011 USDA Budget Summary, picked out the items of interest for farmers markets, and includes some highlights below:

Farmers’ Market Promotion Program – $10 million in mandatory funding as stipulated in the 2008 Farm Bill

• In increase to $3.8

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million in discretionary funding for the Agricultural Marketing Service to improve access to local and regionally produced foods as part of the Department’s “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative

$55 million for Specialty Crop Block Grants to state departments of agriculture

SNAP Point of Sale Devices—$4 million for the Food and Nutrition Service to provide point of sale terminals to all farmers’ markets nationally to enable redemption of SNAP benefits

WIC Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program—$20 million was made available

Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program—$21 million was made available

Rural Development Regional Proposal which would dedicate 5% of several rural development programs to developing local and regional food systems.

Value-Added Producer Grant Program—$20.3 million in discretionary funding, same funding as FY 2010

Stay tuned as the Farmers Market Coalition continues to advocate for these and other programs that support an environment in which farmers markets can thrive as keystones of communities. In particular, FMC will work with USDA to ensure that efforts to equip farmers markets with SNAP/EBT technology also include support for technical assistance and management capacity.