Federal spending for agricultural conservation programs (which assist agricultural producers with correcting and preventing natural resource concerns) generally takes two forms: (1) discretionary spending provided through annual appropriations acts, and (2) mandatory spending authorized and paid for in multiyear legislation (e.g., farm bills). Historically, mandatory agricultural funding was reserved for the farm commodity programs, but it has expanded in recent years to include conservation, rural development, research, and bioenergy programs. This expansion has generated both concern and support. Some consider the expansion to be beyond the scope of the authorizing committee’s jurisdiction, while others prefer the stability of mandatory funding to that of the appropriations process.
For more analysis, see CRS Report R43669, Agriculture and Related Agencies: FY2015 Appropriations; and CRS Report R41245, Reductions in Mandatory Agriculture Program Spending.
Date of Report: January 9, 2015
Order Number: IF10041
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