Search Penny Hill Press

Monday, December 5, 2011

Emergency Funding for Agriculture: A Brief History of Supplemental Appropriations, FY1989-FY2012

Ralph M. Chite
Section Research Manager

From FY1989 through FY2012 (to date), 42 appropriations, authorization, or farm disaster acts added approximately $70.0 billion in supplemental funding for U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) programs (excluding the Forest Service, which is funded annually under the Interior appropriations bill). Approximately $51.1 billion, or just under three-fourths of the total amount, was provided since FY2000.

Since FY1989, a large portion ($44 billion) of the total supplemental funding has been paid directly to farmers, primarily through two mechanisms: “market loss payments” ($21.7 billion, almost all from FY1999 to FY2001) to compensate for low farm commodity prices; and crop disaster payments ($22.3 billion) paid to any producer who experienced a major crop loss caused by a natural disaster. The remaining $26 billion has funded a wide array of other USDA programs, including livestock feed assistance programs, farm conservation programs, specialty crop assistance, farm loans, and non-farm USDA programs such as overseas food aid, and rural development assistance. (Not included in the total is funding provided through the Supplemental Revenue Assistance (SURE) Program and four other disaster programs that were authorized and funded by the 2008 farm bill (P.L. 110-246), and were designed to replace ad-hoc crop disaster payments through FY2011.)

In recent years, virtually all of the supplemental spending has been provided under an emergency designation from Congress and the Administration, meaning that the new spending did not have to be offset with comparable reductions in other programs. However, in some earlier cases a portion of the supplemental was offset by spending reductions in other programs.

Total annual funding additions in the 42 acts providing supplemental economic, farm disaster, and other assistance through USDA programs since FY1989 are as follows: FY1989, $3.4 billion; FY1990, $1.5 billion; FY1991, $0; FY1992, $1.0 billion; FY1993, $1.9 billion; FY1994, $3.1 billion; FY1995, $0.6 billion; FY1996, $0.1 billion; FY1997, $0.5 billion; FY1998, $0.2 billion; FY1999, $6.6 billion; FY2000, $14.8 billion; FY2001, $11.3 billion; FY2002, $0.6 billion; FY2003, $3.6 billion; FY2004, $0.2 billion; FY2005, $3.8 billion; FY2006, $2.2 billion; FY2007, $3.65 billion; FY2008, $3.17 billion; FY2009, $6.89 billion; FY2010, $0.5 billion; FY2011, $0; FY2012, $0.4 billion. 

Grand total, FY1989-FY2012, $70.0 billion.

Date of Report: November 22, 2011
Number of Pages:
Order Number: RL3
Price: $29.95

Follow us on TWITTER at or #CRSreports

Document available via e-mail as a pdf file or in paper form.
To order, e-mail Penny Hill Press or call us at 301-253-0881. Provide a Visa, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover card number, expiration date, and name on the card. Indicate whether you want e-mail or postal delivery. Phone orders are preferred and receive priority processing.