USDA budget outlays increased 34 percent between fiscal 2005 and 2014, with the largest percentage increases in nutrition assistance programs and crop insurance. (Fiscal years begin October 1 and end September 30.) Nutrition-program increases since fiscal 2008 reflected increases in participation and temporary expansion of benefits. The improving economy and expiration of temporary benefits in November 2013 brought nutrition-program outlays down in fiscal 2014. Crop insurance outlays also fell in fiscal 2014, as extreme weather events subsided and crop prices moderated. Commodity program expenditures, down by 74 percent over the decade, increased in the last 2 fiscal years with falling prices, but remain only 6 percent of overall outlays. Together commodity, crop insurance, and conservation programs—those primarily benefiting producers—made up only 17 percent of USDA spending in fiscal 2014.
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