350 Agriculture:Eliminate the Rural Business-Cooperative Service

Savings in Millions of Dollars
  • 2016
  • 2017
  • 2018
  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 2021
  • 2022
  • 2023
  • 2024
  • 2025
  • 2016-2020
  • 2016-2025


Savings were calculated by using the FY 2014 estimated spending levels as found in page 106 of USDA, “FY 2015: Budget Summary and Annual Performance Plan, U.S. Department of Agriculture.” Because the mandatory component of this spending varied significantly, from $0 in 2013 to $243 million in 2014, and an estimated $118 million in 2015, Heritage analysts took the average of these three values ($120 million) as the basis for the FY 2014 spending level, which was then added to the discretionary FY 2014 spending level and increased at the same rate as discretionary spending for 2016–2025 according, to the CBO’s most recent August 2014 baseline spending projections.


Technical Notes on Scoring

CBO Baseline

Unless otherwise noted, calculations for savings for each recommendation relies on the most recent Congressional Budget Office baseline, as found in “An Update to the Budget and Economic Outlook: 2014 to 2024,” published August 27, 2014, has been used.

Savings “Totals”

While totals for the five and 10 year savings are provided by section and for the complete set of recommendations, there are two reasons they should not be viewed as representing total savings for The Budget Book.

First, as noted in the introduction, The Heritage Foundation would recommend that the savings realized in the Function 050 Defense section would stay within the Department of Defense to strengthen the nation’s defense capabilities.

Second, the numbers cannot be deemed to represent the realized savings if every single recommendation were adopted because policy changes made in one program can impact spending levels in other programs.  Thus, the numbers in the table do not reflect any potential interactions between the various policy changes affecting spending or savings.


Heritage Recommendation:

Eliminate the Rural Business-Cooperative Service (RBCS). This proposal saves $258 million in 2016, and $2.7 billion over 10 years.


The Dept of Ag’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service is unnecessary. Save $2.7 billion!

The RBCS is an agency in the U.S. Department of Agriculture that has a wide range of financial assistance programs to help rural businesses. It also has a significant focus on renewable energy and climate change, including subsidizing biofuels.

Rural businesses are fully capable of running themselves, investing, and seeking assistance through private means. The fact that these businesses are in rural areas does not change the fact that they can and should succeed on their own merits like any other business. Private capital will find its way to worthy investments.

The government should also not be in the business of picking winners and losers when it comes to private investments or energy sources. Instead of handing taxpayer dollars to businesses, the federal government should identify and remove the obstacles that it has created for businesses in rural communities.

The Dept of Ag’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service is unnecessary. Save $2.7 billion!

Contributing Expert

Daren Bakst studies and writes about agriculture subsidies, property rights, environmental policy, food labeling and related issues as The Heritage Foundation’s research fellow in agricultural policy.

See publications by Daren Bakst

Daren BakstResearch Fellow in Agricultural Policy

Heritage Expert

Diane Katz, who has analyzed and written on public policy issues for more than two decades, is a research fellow in regulatory policy at The Heritage Foundation.

See publications by Diane Katz

Diane KatzResearch Fellow in Regulatory Policy

Additional Reading