Last Friday, the Biden administration released a proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year. While full details have yet to be released, the Center is encouraged to see priorities focused on rural America, such as conservation in agriculture, broadband, and clean energy in rural communities, included.
In recent weeks, Center staff members have shared our recommendations with members of Congress as part of the annual appropriations process, in which federal legislators allocate discretionary funding to a wide array of programs.
We expressed support for programs that benefit family farms, small businesses, and rural communities, many of which have taken on new significance in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.
One of our top priorities continues to be the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP), which supports the development and ongoing success of rural microentrepreneurs and microenterprises. Through RMAP, direct loans and grants are provided to Microentrepreneur Development Organizations, who then provide technical services and distribute microloans of $50,000 or less to rural microentrepreneurs.
We also recommended support for accounts such as Conservation Technical Assistance, which largely funds Natural Resources Conservation Service staffing, and agricultural and business development grants.
Here’s the Center’s full list of fiscal year 2022 appropriations priorities:
- Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP): $12 million in discretionary funds
- Conservation Technical Assistance (CTA): At least $1.1 billion
- Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP): $20 million, split appropriately between the Value Added Producer Grants (VAPG) program and the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP)
- Rural Business Development Grants (RBDG): $45 million in discretionary funds
- Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE): Full funding at $60 million
- Rural Energy for America Program (REAP): $5 million in discretionary loan funds
- Rural Cooperative Development Grant Program (RCDG): $15 million in discretionary funds
- Farm Service Agency (FSA) loans:
- Direct Farm Ownership Loans - $2.776 billion
- Direct Operating Loans - $1.633 billion
- Guaranteed Farm Ownership Loans - $3.6 billion
- Guaranteed Operating Loans - $2.118 billion
Click here to read the full letter sent to members of Congress.