The Delta Grassroots Caucus (DGC) is a broad coalition of grassroots leaders in the eight-state Delta region. DGC is also a founding partner of the Economic Equality Caucus,
which advocates for economic equality across the USA.

USDA Recovery Act Spending--an Update

Posted on April 30, 2009 at 11:48 AM

As part of the Delta Caucus’ ongoing efforts to keep track of how the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 funding is spent, as well as how the new farm bill passed last year is being implemented, here is a summary of several important USDA programs’ spending in the last three months. USDA rural development, nutrition, renewable energy, agriculture and other programs are especially important for the Delta region due to the high rates of food insecurity and rural poverty in our region.

  • USDA distributed all of the nearly $170 million in Recovery Act funding for direct farm operating loans. The funds went to 2,521 producers in 47 states and approximately 20 percent are going to socially disadvantaged producers.

  • USDA has worked with state partners to increase Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits by $80 each month for a family of four. Over the next two years, this benefit increase will create or save 100,000 jobs. According to the USDA, each $1 billion invested in food stamps results in an increase of 16,400 private sector jobs due to expanded economic activity in such areas as farming, livestock, food processing, and transportation.

  • USDA announced $84.8 million in Recovery Act funding to improve water quality, increase water supply, decrease soil erosion, and improve fish and wildlife habitat in rural communities.

  • On April 29, 2009, USDA announced the first in a series of funding to provide safe drinking water, improved wastewater treatment systems and create jobs for rural areas. This batch of funding amounted to more than $600 million in 34 states. These efforts will create jobs and revitalize rural communities.

In the funding announced on April 29, communities in the Delta received over $36 million in water and environmental projects that are being funded immediately with federal funds from the American Recover and Reinvestment Act. This was part of a package of funding provided by USDA to help provide safe drinking water, improved wastewater infrastructure, protect environmental resources and create jobs.

  • USDA collaborated with the Department of Energy to make $25 million available for research and development of technologies and processes to produce biofuels, bioenergy, and high-value biobased products.

  • USDA has updated the WIC program (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children) to begin distributing new food packages which for the first time include fruits and vegetables, whole grain products and reduced-fat dairy options.

  • USDA announced a temporary suspension of all foreclosures within the Farm Service Agency’s farm loan program for 90 days to provide the opportunity to review the loan granting process for possible discriminatory conduct. As part of efforts regarding civil rights, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack ordered an external analysis of program delivery in USDA’s field offices to get specific recommendations as to how the Department can provide services equitably.

You can monitor how and where Recovery Act funding was spent in the eight state, 252-county Greater Delta Region by looking at the new geospatial mapping web-function is now available at, which tracks all spending across the country. USDA has entered a partnership with the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), so that HUD projects funded by the Recovery Act will also be featured on the geospatial map. You can go to the site and draw your own conclusions about how the funding is being spent. –Lee Powell, MDGC (202) 360-6347