U.S. Department of Agriculture

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials identified a number of challenges in planning for sequestration. For example, USDA’s 923 programs, projects, and activities (PPAs) were defined in a way that limited its flexibility to implement sequestration. USDA officials also had difficulty understanding how to apply sequestration law and guidance to certain USDA programs, which required extensive analysis and communication with OMB. Several actions helped USDA to mitigate the most significant effects of sequestration. For example, the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act provided funding in addition to what had been provided in the continuing resolution, which helped to avert a potential nationwide furlough of meat and poultry plant inspectors and to maintain the level of support provided through the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). USDA officials said sequestration may affect the public through a reduction in services or other benefits, such as fewer agricultural research grants and reduced assistance across all programs that may affect water quality and quantity, soil erosion, and wildlife habitat. USDA officials have yet to determine the magnitude of these effects.