Monday, August 2, 2010

The Deptartment of 1/5 Agriculture

Here's a fun factoid for Monday morning.  The federal government spent approximately $22.2 billion dollars on agricultural research, services, and stabilization in Fiscal Year 2009.  However, the Department of Agriculture spent $114.4 billion dollars in Fiscal Year 2009.

So what is going on here?  Obviously, the Department of Agriculture spends it's money on things besides agriculture.  This is nothing new.  This has been occurring at least since 1962 and will continue through 2010 and 2011.
agricultural_spending
(Click chart for larger image.  Click here for the numbers)
Looking at the chart above, you'll notice that the amount the Department spends on non-agricultural spending was pretty low in 1962, but in the 70s started rising and kept rising, until the 2000s and great recession when spending didn't rise, it exploded.  However, that doesn't tell the full story.  I charted the non-agricultural spending by the Dept. of Agriculture and then adjusted for inflation.
dept_of_ag,_non-ag_spending
(Click chart for larger image.  Click here for the numbers)
Looking at the inflation adjusted numbers, the spending doesn't have quite the upward trend as before.  It looks like there was an increase during the seventies, but from there, the amount spent went sideways, not up.  That is, until the Great Recession and now the Department's non-agriculture spending is rising fast.

So where is all that money going for the department?  A lot of places.  You can see all the accounts that it goes to if you wish(here).  For those who prefer a summary, here are all the non agrarian functions the department of agriculture spends money on as well as how much it spend for each.
  1. Area and regional development $1099
  2. Community development $27
  3. Conservation and land management $9246
  4. Consumer and occupational health and safety $956
  5. Disaster relief and insurance $71
  6. Food and nutrition assistance $78796
  7. Housing assistance $1093
  8. International development and humanitarian assistance $1696
  9. Pollution control and abatement $8
  10. Recreational resources $19
  11. Water resources $248
As you can see, many of the things that it spends money on do have an in-direct relationship to agriculture.  For instance, water and land management are important as they are 2 of the 3 main ingredients needed for growing crops.
All that being said, It's still fun to point out that only 1 out of 5 dollars spent by the Department of Agriculture, actually gets spent on agriculture.
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