Secretary of Agriculture Mike Johanns has released the details of President Bush's FY 2007 U.S. Department of Agriculture budget. The proposed budget meets the department's most important priorities, while working to meet deficit reduction goals."The President's agriculture budget provides important resources for farmers and ranchers, while doing our part to avoid passing on the deficit to our children and grandchildren," said Johanns.The total USDA expenditures are estimated at $93 billion in 2007. This is approximately $3 billion less than the 2006 level. Roughly 77 percent of the proposed budget will go toward mandatory programs, which include export promotion, conservation, nutrition assistance and commodity programs.The remaining 23 percent of the budget will support the USDA's discretionary programs, which include Women, Infants and Children (WIC), rural development loans and grants, research and education, soil and water conservation technical assistance, management of National Forests and domestic marketing assistance.The 2007 budget includes $82 million for continued work with the states in domestic surveillance for improved preparedness to prevent the spread of the avian influenza (H5N1). This is a $66 million increase from 2006.The budget also proposes $322 million in USDA funding for the multi-agency Good and Agriculture Defense Initiative, which is funded at $540 government-wide. This represents a $127 million increase for the USDA to continue improving the safety and security of America's food supply and agriculture.Other increases include the Food Emergency Response Network to a total of $23; $42 million for research to ensure food safety and develop ways to quickly identify pathogens and improved animal vaccines and better understand the genes that aid in disease resistance and; $62 million in increases to enhance surveillance and monitoring activities to quickly detect pest and disease threats and improve response capabilities.The USDA's FY 2007 budget also includes an increase to $85 million to research renewable energy and additional efforts to support energy development and transmission across public lands.There is a proposed $2 billion reduction in Commodity Credit Corporation due to lower expected emergency disaster assistance and modest commodity-price improvements for some crops, as well as proposed legislative changes to reduce farm support program spending.The budget also includes reduced costs to deliver crop insurance by increasing the minimum coverage level, tying the receipt of commodity payments to purchase crop insurance and changes in fees, premium rates and delivery expenses.The budget does include fully funding the USDA's three major nutrition programs: Food Stamps, School Lunch and WIC, which accounts for nearly $55 billion. The School Lunch program is expected to reach 30.9 million children each day. The Food Stamp program is expected to decline by one million participants to 25.9 total.The 2007 budget proposes over $4 billion to continue to implement conservation programs, including the protection of at least three million wetland acres over a five year period, ending in 2009. The budget also includes $1.8 billion to protect communities and natural resources from wildland fire through the Northwest Forest Plan.Johanns also announced the launch of http:www.ExpectMore.gov. This site will provide Americans with information about federal programs, their performance and actions by the Administration to improve performance in the coming year.The complete FY 2007 budget proposal is available at: http://www.usda.gov.