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Nearly $400 million cut from USACE budget

Posted on March 20, 2024

The recently slashed budget for the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) was a major agenda item at the March 17 Transportation Logistics Committee meeting for the National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) during its 128th annual convention in Orlando.

On March 11, the Biden administration released its fiscal year 2025 budget that included a 17% cut to funds provided to the USACE for its water resources work. For its civil works activities, the FY25 budget allocated $7.22 billion, down from $7.41 billion in FY24. Construction projects were given $1.99 billion, compared with $2.02 billion in FY24.

For operations and management, the administration allotted $4.16 billion, which includes $2.47 billion for all USACE’s mission areas except for the ones funded by Congress’s Distribution of Harbor Maintenance Trust Fund, and $930 million dedicated to inland operations; this represents a decrease of $150 million from the $4.31 billion assigned to operations and management in FY24. Investigations in FY25 were appointed $110.59 million, down from $129.8 million in FY24.

The NGFA committee expressed concern about these budget cuts given the two back-to-back years of low water levels on the Mississippi River, the nation’s busiest commercial waterway. Committee members also said a third consecutive low-water event on the Mississippi was likely again this year. Dredging is one of the main maintenance activities provided by the USACE to ensure the continued flow of commodities on the river system.

The committee also gave a call to action, encouraging its members to hold Congress accountable to the intent of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and modify the construction cost share for inland waterways projects to be 100% funded by federal investment.

Since June, $59.3 million has been invested in low water dredging, and approximately 25.7 million cubic yards of dredge material have been removed from low water areas along the Mississippi River. Each year, the Mississippi River moves commodities totaling about $187 billion in value.

The NGFA represents grain, feed, processing, exporting and other grain-related companies that operate facilities handling US grains and oilseeds. Its membership includes grain elevators; feed and feed ingredient manufacturers; biofuels companies; grain and oilseed processors and millers; exporters; livestock and poultry integrators; and associated firms that provide goods and services to the nation’s grain, feed and processing industry.


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