Jon Bailey continues the Center for Rural Affairs' Rural Brief series with an analysis of rural development programs in the recently passed House version of the 2007 Farm Bill.
The House bill authorized a total of $456 million annually for Farm Bill authorized rural development programs. However, only $30 million of that authorized spending (about seven percent) is mandatory spending, or spending that must be included in the annual federal budget through the appropriations process. The rest of the authorized spending is discretionary spending, inclusion of which in the federal budget is at the annual discretion of Congressional appropriators. Because of this, it is conceivable that the $426 million in Farm Bill discretionary spending will never be appropriated, and that the programs listed in the report with discretionary funding will either terminate or never be implemented.
The vast majority of the rural development title in the House bill reauthorizes existing programs and sets annual authorized appropriation levels. For a list of Rural Development programs included in the House bill and authorized annual spending levels download a pdf of the Rural Brief.