The Department of Agriculture provides an array of subsidies for farmers and imposes extensive regulations on agricultural markets. It operates food aid programs, such as the food stamp and school lunch programs, and it administers many subsidy programs for rural parts of the nation. The Forest Service also forms part of the Department of Agriculture.
The department will spend $151 billion in 2012, or more than $1,200 for every U.S. household. It operates about 240 subsidy programs and employs 93,000 workers in about 7,000 offices across the country.
- Agricultural Subsidies. The department provides up to $30 billion annually to farmers of corn, cotton, rice, soybeans, wheat, and other crops. It also aids farmers with research, loan, and insurance programs.
- Agricultural Regulations and Trade Barriers. The government regulates domestic markets for products such as sugar and milk, and it imposes trade restrictions on various farm products.
- Rural Subsidies. The department operates a range of subsidy programs for businesses and individuals living in rural areas.
- Food Subsidies. Most of the department’s budget goes toward food subsidies, including the food stamp and school lunch programs.
- Forest Service. The Forest Service oversees 193 million acres of forests and provides subsidies to businesses and state governments.