Investments in farm policy are sound investments in our country’s – and our world’s – food security, national security and our ability to pass along a thriving rural America to the next generation.

The nation’s agricultural safety net helps protect a viable and prosperous rural economy. Totaling only one-quarter of 1 percent of the federal budget, this relatively small but wise investment is worth protecting for the benefit of farmers and consumers.

Our Priorities

More than 21 million American jobs have their roots in the U.S. food and fiber industry – more than five times as many workers as the U.S. automotive manufacturing, sales and service sectors combined. Strong agriculture-related programs help keep rural economies going even in times of weather- or market-related disasters – and help keep Americans in rural and urban areas alike on the job.

Our top priorities with regards to mandatory agriculture spending in the federal budget include risk protection programs and conservation programs.

Our discretionary spending priorities include:

  • Funding agricultural research programs that benefit growers and consumers over the long term. According to CAST, every $1 invested in agricultural research and extension generates about $32 in return.
  • Continuing to invest in USDA foreign market development programs. A recent study of wheat promotion activities shows the investment in producer dollars, combined with MAP and FMD, added $27.3 billion in farm income, $220 billion in overall U.S. GDP and created 239,000 full and part-time jobs between 2002 and 2014.


Facts About the Budget and Farm Policy

  • Congressional Budget Office (CBO) data shows farm safety net funding has fallen sharply in the last decade, and it was reduced again in the 2014 Farm Bill by $7.4 billion. Today, farm policy represents just one-quarter of 1 percent of the federal budget.
  • Compared to other major agricultural producers around the globe, the U.S. ranks near the bottom in terms of both direct assistance and tariff protections that help family farms survive and compete.
  • The reality is American consumers spend just 9.8 percent of their disposable income on food—less than any other country.

Additional information and reports from the Congressional Research Service are available online.