USDA: $17 billion to farmers in FY2011

Helping farmers is a major focus of the USDA's 2011 budget.
Helping farmers is a major focus of the USDA's 2011 budget.
According to its 2011 fiscal year report, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will dedicate roughly $17 billion in assistance to those who may use farm equipment to make a living.

At 46 percent, the bulk of that money will go to commodity programs. Another 34 percent of the $17 billion is expected to go to crop insurance, while 11 percent goes to conservation programs and another 9 percent is dedicated to disaster programs.

The USDA put forward five "pillars" in order to support rural communities through its budget. Those include improving access to broadband and creating businesses, along with developing food systems at the local and regional level.

The department has already taken steps to try and improve broadband connections through funds available from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Furthermore, officials in Washington went on a speaking tour where they gathered input from rural communities on improving communication systems.

Local and regional food systems are also being highlighted care of the Know Your Farmer Know Your Food program. One of the goals of the program is to help people connect with producers in their area.