USDA budget 2008 reflects importance of food safety

by Editor
Tuesday, February 13, 2007

The safety of America’s food supply again remains a government priority for next year.

According to details released from the US Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) 2008 budget, it reflects the government’s priorities to encourage economic growth and increase security, while also keeping spending under control.

Total USDA expenditures are estimated at $89 billion in 2008, around the same level as 2007. Roughly 75% of the budget, or $67 billion, will be for mandatory programs that provide services required by law, which include many of the nutrition assistance, commodity, export promotion and conservation programs.

The remaining 25% of expenditures or $22 billion in 2008 will be spent for the WIC (women, infants and children) programme, for rural development loans, for research and education.

The USDA's budget for food safety for the year is set at a “record” level of $1.1 billion in funding for the Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS).

The budget also includes $16 million to design a new poultry research facility for conducting research on avian diseases, as well as $82 million to fund ongoing avian influenza programs.

School Lunch participation is estimated to reach 31.5 million children each day. The budget provides a $632 million increase in Child Nutrition Programs to accommodate this need for a total budget of $13.9 billion.

Other priorities for the USDA's agricultural budget include the development of renewable energy resources, conservation reserve programs, farm support programs, rural development and research programs.