President’s F.Y. 2009 Budget Released

The following is extracted with permission from the Feb. 4 issue of the Cornerstone Report, published by the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges:

The President’s Budget for the fiscal year beginning on October 1, 2008, was released this morning.

The USDA’s Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES) would see a $190 million reduction below the FY 2008 enacted level. This includes cuts to all three of the major CSREES funding categories: (1) Research and Education Activities would be reduced by $133 million; (2) Extension Activities would be cut by $21.5 million; and (3) Integrated Activities would be reduced by $35.7 million. (The table below presents a line-by-line breakdown for all CSREES programs.)

Additional Highlights:

Earmarks. As in previous budgets (going back at least several administrations), the President recommended elimination of the congressional priorities generally known as “earmarks.” This included some $88 million in “special research grants” (Research) and $40 million in “federal administration grants” (Research and Extension).

Research and Education Activities. The Administration has once again proposed substantial changes to three formula-based programs: (1) the Hatch Act program would be reduced to $139 million, with $98 million to be directed to a new competitive multistate program; (2) McIntire-Stennis funding would drop to $19.5 million, with $13 million going to a new competitive multistate program; and (3) funding for the Animal Health and Disease program would be eliminated. Also “zeroed-out” in the budget were the Alternative Crops, Critical Agricultural Materials Act, Joe Skeen Rangelands Research Grants, and Veterinary Medical Services Act line-items.

Extension Activities. Some extension accounts received small decreases and some minor increases. Notably, two Smith-Lever 3(d) programs would be either reduced or eliminated: (1) the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP) would be cut by $3.3 million; and (2) Farm Safety would be “zero-funded.” At the same time, another 3(d) program — eXtension — would receive a $1.5 increase. The 1890s Extension program would be reduced by $1.8 million. Finally, Rural Health and Safety Education funding would be eliminated.

Section 406 Integrated Activities and the NRI. The National Research Initiative would receive $256.5 million. Included within that total, however, is $45 million in funding for programs authorized under Section 406 of the Research, Extension, and Education Act of 1998 and previously administered under the “Integrated Activities” heading of the CSREES budget. (Section 406 programs include: National Integrated Water Quality Program; Conservation Effects Assessment Project; National Integrated Food Safety Initiative; Crops at Risk Program; Risk Avoidance and Mitigation Program; Methyl Bromide Transitions; and Regional Integrated Pest Management Centers.)