Renewable energy in Brazil
As of 2018, renewable energy accounted for 79% of the domestically produced electricity used in Brazil. Brazil relies on hydroelectricity for 65% of its electricity, the Brazilian government plans to expand the share of biomass and wind energy as alternatives. Wind energy has the greatest potential in Brazil during the dry season, so it is considered a hedge against low rainfall and the geographical spread of existing hydroelectric resources. In January 2015, a drought in Brazil that cut water to the country's hydroelectric dams prompted severe energy shortages; this crisis led to electricity rationing. Brazil held its first wind-only energy auction in a move to diversify its energy portfolio. Foreign companies scrambled to take part; the bidding lead to the construction of 2 gigawatts of wind production with an investment of about $6 billion over the following two years. Brazil's technical potential for wind energy is 143 GW due to the country's blustery 7,400 kilometres kilometres coastline where most projects are based.
The Brazilian Wind Energy Association and the government have set a goal of achieving 20 GW of wind energy capacity by 2020 from the current 5 GW. The industry hopes the auction will help kick-start the wind-energy sector, which accounts for 70% of the total in all of Latin America. According to Brazil's Energy Master-plan 2016-2026, Brazil is expected to install 18,5GW of additional wind power generation, 84% in the North-East and 14% in the South. Brazil started focusing on developing alternative sources of energy sugarcane ethanol, after the oil shocks in the 1970s. Brazil's large sugarcane farms helped the development. In 1985, 91 % of cars produced; the success of flexible-fuel vehicles, introduced in 2003, together with the mandatory E25 blend throughout the country, have allowed ethanol fuel consumption in the country to achieve a 50% market share of the gasoline-powered fleet by February 2008. Hydroelectric power plants produce 80% of the electrical energy consumed in Brazil. Brazil has the third highest potential following Russia and China.
The Itaipu Dam is the world's second largest hydroelectric power station by installed capacity. Built on the Paraná River dividing Brazil and Paraguay, the dam provides over 75% of Paraguay's electric power needs, meets more than 20% of Brazil's total electricity demand; the river runs along the border of the two countries, during the initial diplomatic talks for the dam construction both countries were suffering from droughts. The original goal was therefore to provide better management and utilization of water resources for the irrigation of crops. Argentina was later incorporated in some of the governmental planning and agreements because it is directly affected, being downstream, by the regulation of the water on the river. If the dam were to open the water flow, areas as far south as Buenos Aires could flood. Construction of the dam started in 1975, the first generator was opened in 1983, it is estimated that 10,000 locals were displaced by the construction of the dam, around 40,000 people were hired to help with the construction of the project.
Many environmental concerns were overlooked when constructing the dam, due to the trade-off considering the production of such a large amount of energy without carbon emissions, no immediate harmful byproducts, such as with nuclear energy. Wind power in Brazil amounts to an installed capacity of more than 8 GW as of 2015. Wind strength in Brazil is more intense from June to December, coinciding with the months of lower rainfall intensity; this puts the wind as a potential complementary source of energy to hydroelectricity. Brazil's first wind energy turbine was installed in Fernando de Noronha Archipelago in 1992. Ten years the government created the Program for Incentive of Alternative Electric Energy Sources to encourage the use of other renewable sources, such as wind power and small hydro. Since the inception of Proinfa, Brazil's wind energy production has grown from 22 MW in 2003 to 602 MW in 2009, to over 8,700 MW by 2015. Developing these wind power sources in Brazil is helping the country to meet its strategic objectives of enhancing energy security, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and creating jobs.
The potential for this type of power generation in Brazil could reach up to 145,000 MW, according to the 2001 Brazilian Wind Power Potential Report by the Electric Energy Research Centre. While the 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference was taking place in Copenhagen, Brazil's National Electric Energy Agency held the country's first wind-only energy auction. On December 14, 2009, around 1,800 megawatts were contracted with energy from 71 wind power plants scheduled to be delivered beginning July 1, 2012; as of February 2019, according to ONS, total installed capacity was 14.7 GW, with 12.3 GW in the Northeast Region and 2.0 GW in the South Region. As of February 2019, according to ONS, total installed capacity of photovoltaic solar was 2.6 GW, with 1.3 GW in the Northeast Region and 1.0 GW in the Southeast Region. Brazil has one of the highest solar incidence in the world; the largest solar plants in Brazil consist of the Nova Olinda plants. The Ituverava solar plant produces 254 MW and the Nova Olinda plant produces 292 MW.
Brazil's ethanol program started in 1975. Sugarcane was an obvious candidate, given Brazil's large amount of arable land and favourable climate. Most cars on the road today in Brazil can run on blends of up to 25% ethanol, motor vehicle manufacturers produce
The Atlantic Forest is a South American forest that extends along the Atlantic coast of Brazil from Rio Grande do Norte state in the north to Rio Grande do Sul state in the south, inland as far as Paraguay and the Misiones Province of Argentina, where the region is known as Selva Misionera. The Atlantic Forest has ecoregions within the following biome categories: seasonal moist and dry broad-leaf tropical forests and subtropical grasslands and shrublands, mangrove forests; the Atlantic Forest is characterized by endemism. It was the first environment that the Portuguese colonists encountered over 500 years ago, when it was thought to have had an area of 1,000,000–1,500,000 km2, stretching an unknown distance inland. Over 85% of the original area has been deforested, threatening many plant and animal species with extinction; the Atlantic Forest region includes forests of several variations: Restinga is a forest type that grows on stabilized coastal dunes. Restinga Forests are closed canopy short forests with tree density.
Open Restinga is an open, savanna-like formation with scattered clumps of small trees and shrubs and an extensive layer of herbs and sedges. Seasonal tropical moist forests may receive more than 2000 mm of rain a year; these include Tropical Moist: Lowland Forests, Submontane Forest, Montane Forests. Tabuleiro forests are found over moist clay soils and Tabuleiro Savannas occur over faster-draining sand soils; these are humid areas. Further inland are the Atlantic dry forests, which form a transition between the arid Caatinga to the northeast and the Cerrado savannas to the east; these forests are lower in stature. These forests have between 700–1600 mm of precipitation annually with a distinct dry season; this includes Deciduous and Semideciduous Seasonal Forest each with their own lowland and montane regions. Montane forests are higher altitude wet forests across plateaus of southern Brazil; the Mussununga forests occur in northern Espirito Santo states. The Mussununga ecosystem ranges from grasslands to woodlands associated with sandy spodosols.
The word Mussununga is Amerindian Tupi-Guarani meaning wet white sand. Shrubby montane savannas occur at the highest elevations called Campo rupestre; the Atlantic Forest is unusual in that it extends as a true tropical rain forest to latitudes as far as 28°S. This is. In fact, the northern Zona da Mata of northeastern Brazil receives much more rainfall between May and August than during the southern summer; the geographic range of Atlantic Forest vary depending on institution that published them. Information on four most important boundaries as well as their union and intersection was reviewed in 2018. During glacial periods in the Pleistocene, the Atlantic Forest is known to have shrunk to small fragmented refugia in sheltered gullies, being separated by areas of dry forest or semi-deserts known as caatingas; some maps suggest the forest survived in moist pockets well away from the coastline where its endemic rainforest species mixed with much cooler-climate species. Unlike refugia for equatorial rainforests, the refuges for the Atlantic Forest have never been the product of detailed identification.
Despite having only 28% of native vegetation cover remaining, the Atlantic Forest remains extraordinarily lush in biodiversity and endemic species, many of which are threatened with extinction. 40 percent of its vascular plants and up to 60 percent of its vertebrates are endemic species, meaning they are found nowhere else in the world. The official threatened species list of Brazil contains over 140 terrestrial mammal species found in Atlantic Forest. In Paraguay there are 35 species listed as threatened, 22 species are listed as threatened in the interior portion of the Atlantic Forest of Argentina. Nearly 250 species of amphibians and mammals have become extinct due to the result of human activity in the past 400 years. Over 11,000 species of plants and animals are considered threatened today in the Atlantic Forest. Over 52% of the tree species and 92% of the amphibians are endemic to this area; the forest harbors around 20,000 species of plants, with 450 tree species being found in just one hectare in some occasions.
New species are continually being found in the Atlantic Forest. In fact, between 1990 and 2006 over a thousand new flowering plants were discovered. Furthermore, in 1990 researchers re-discovered a small population of the black-faced lion tamarin (Leontopithecus caissara thought to have been extinct. A new species of blonde capuchin, named for its distinguishing bright blonde hair, was discovered in northeastern Brazil at the Pernambuco Endemism Center in 2006. A species of endangered three-toed sloth, named the maned sloth because of its long hair, is endemic to the Atlantic Forest; the incorporation of modern human societies and their needs for forest resources has reduced the size of the Atlantic Forest, which has resulted in species impoverishment. 88% of the original forest habitat has been lost and replaced by human-modified landscapes including pastures and urban areas. This deforestation continues at up to 2.9 % in urban areas. Agriculture: A major portion of human land use in the Atlantic Rain Forest is for agriculture.
Crops include sugar-cane, tea and more soybean and biofuel crops. Pasture: E
Energy in Brazil
Brazil is the 10th largest energy consumer in the world and the largest in South America. It is an important oil and gas producer in the region and the world's second largest ethanol fuel producer; the government agencies responsible for energy policy are the Ministry of Mines and Energy, the National Council for Energy Policy, the National Agency of Petroleum, Natural Gas and Biofuels and the National Agency of Electricity. State-owned companies Petrobras and Eletrobrás are the major players in Brazil's energy sector, as well as Latin America's. At the end of the 1990s and the beginning of the 2000s, Brazil's energy sector underwent market liberalization. In 1997, the Petroleum Investment Law was adopted, establishing a legal and regulatory framework, liberalizing oil production, it created the CNPE and the ANP, increased use of natural gas, increased competition in the energy market, increased investment in power generation. The state monopoly on oil and gas exploration ended, energy subsidies were reduced.
However, the government retained monopoly control of key energy complexes and regulated the price of certain energy products. Current government policies concentrate on improving energy efficiency in both residential and industrial sectors, as well as increasing use of renewable energy. Further restructuring of the energy sector will be one of the key issues for ensuring sufficient energy investments to meet the rising need for fuel and electricity. Brazil is the world's 12th-largest oil producer. Up to 1997, the government-owned Petróleo Brasileiro S. A. had a monopoly on oil. More than 50 oil companies now are engaged in oil exploration; the only global oil producer is Petrobras, with an output of more than 2 million barrels of oil equivalent per day. It is a major distributor of oil products, owns oil refineries and oil tankers. In 2006, Brazil had 11.2 billion barrels the second-largest proven oil reserves in South America after Venezuela. The vast majority of proven reserves were located in the Campos and Santos offshore basins off the southeast coast of Brazil.
In November 2007, Petrobras announced that it believed the offshore Tupi oil field had between 5 and 8 billion barrels of recoverable light oil and neighbouring fields may contain more, which all in all could result in Brazil becoming one of the largest producers of oil in the world. Brazil has been a net exporter of oil since 2011. However, the country still imports some light oil from the Middle East, because several refineries, built in the 1960s and 1970s under the military government, are not suited to process the heavy oil in Brazilian reserves, discovered decades later. Transpetro, a wholly owned subsidiary of Petrobras, operates a crude oil transport network; the system consists of 6,000 kilometres of crude oil pipelines, coastal import terminals, inland storage facilities. At the end of 2017, the proven reserves of Brazil's natural gas were 369 x 109 m³, with possible reserves expected to be 2 times higher; until natural gas was produced as a by-product of the oil industry. The main reserves in use are located at Santos Basins.
Other natural gas basins include Foz do Amazonas, Ceara e Potiguar, Pernambuco e Paraíba, Sergipe/Alagoas, Espírito Santo and Amazonas. Petrobras controls over 90 percent of Brazil’s natural gas reserves. Brazil's inland gas pipeline systems are operated by Petrobras subsidiary Transpetro. In 2005, construction began on the Gas Unificação which will link Mato Grosso do Sul in southwest Brazil, to Maranhão in the northeast. China’s Sinopec is a contractor for the Gasene pipeline, which will link the northeast and southeast networks. Petrobras is constructing the Urucu-Manaus pipeline, which will link the Urucu gas reserves to power plants in the state of Amazonas. In 2005, the gas production was 18.7 x 109 m³, less than the natural gas consumption of Brazil. Gas imports come from Bolivia's Rio Grande basin through the Bolivia-Brazil gas pipeline, from Argentina through the Transportadora de Gas de Mercosur pipeline, from LNG imports. Brazil has held talks with Venezuela and Argentina about building a new pipeline system Gran Gasoducto del Sur linking the three countries.
Brazil has total coal reserves of about 30 billion tonnes, but the deposits vary by the quality and quantity. The proved recoverable reserves are around 10 billion tonnes. In 2004 Brazil produced 5.4 million tonnes of coal, while coal consumption reached 21.9 million tonnes. All of Brazil’s coal output is steam coal, of which about 85% is fired in power stations. Reserves of sub-bituminous coal are located in the states of Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina and Paraná. Brazil has the world's second largest known oil shale resources and has second largest shale oil production after Estonia. Oil shale resources lie in São Mateus do Sul, Paraná, in Vale do Paraíba. Brazil has developed the world’s largest surface oil shale pyrolysis retort Petrosix, operated by Petrobras. Production in 1999 was about 200,000 tonnes. Brazil has the 6th largest uranium reserves in the world. Deposits of uranium are found in eight different states of Brazil. Proven reserves are 162,000 tonnes. Cumulative production at the end of 2002 was less than 1,400 tonnes.
The Poços de Caldas production centre in Minas Gerais state was shut down in 1997 and was replaced by a new plant at Lagoa Real in Bahia. There is a plan to build another production center at Itatiaia. Power sector reforms were launched in the mid-1990s and a new regulatory framework was applied in 2004. In 2004, Brazil had 86.5 GW o
In ecology, a habitat is the type of natural environment in which a particular species of organism lives. It is characterized by both biological features. A species' habitat is those places where it can find food, shelter and mates for reproduction; the physical factors are for example soil, range of temperature, light intensity as well as biotic factors such as the availability of food and the presence or absence of predators. Every organism has certain habitat needs for the conditions in which it will thrive, but some are tolerant of wide variations while others are specific in their requirements. A habitat is not a geographical area, it can be the interior of a stem, a rotten log, a rock or a clump of moss, for a parasitic organism it is the body of its host, part of the host's body such as the digestive tract, or a single cell within the host's body. Habitat types include polar, temperate and tropical; the terrestrial vegetation type may be forest, grassland, semi-arid or desert. Fresh water habitats include marshes, rivers and ponds, marine habitats include salt marshes, the coast, the intertidal zone, reefs, the open sea, the sea bed, deep water and submarine vents.
Habitats change over time. This may be due to a violent event such as the eruption of a volcano, an earthquake, a tsunami, a wildfire or a change in oceanic currents. Other changes come as a direct result of human activities; the introduction of alien species can have a devastating effect on native wildlife, through increased predation, through competition for resources or through the introduction of pests and diseases to which the native species have no immunity. The word "habitat" has been in use since about 1755 and derives from the Latin habitāre, to inhabit, from habēre, to have or to hold. Habitat can be defined as the natural environment of an organism, the type of place in which it is natural for it to live and grow, it is similar in meaning to a biotope. The chief environmental factors affecting the distribution of living organisms are temperature, climate, soil type and light intensity, the presence or absence of all the requirements that the organism needs to sustain it. Speaking, animal communities are reliant on specific types of plant communities.
Some plants and animals are generalists, their habitat requirements are met in a wide range of locations. The small white butterfly for example is found on all the continents of the world apart from Antarctica, its larvae feed on a wide range of Brassicas and various other plant species, it thrives in any open location with diverse plant associations. The large blue butterfly is much more specific in its requirements. Disturbance is important in the creation of biodiverse habitats. In the absence of disturbance, a climax vegetation cover develops that prevents the establishment of other species. Wildflower meadows are sometimes created by conservationists but most of the flowering plants used are either annuals or biennials and disappear after a few years in the absence of patches of bare ground on which their seedlings can grow. Lightning strikes and toppled trees in tropical forests allow species richness to be maintained as pioneering species move in to fill the gaps created. Coastal habitats can become dominated by kelp until the seabed is disturbed by a storm and the algae swept away, or shifting sediment exposes new areas for colonisation.
Another cause of disturbance is when an area may be overwhelmed by an invasive introduced species, not kept under control by natural enemies in its new habitat. Terrestrial habitat types include forests, grasslands and deserts. Within these broad biomes are more specific habitats with varying climate types, temperature regimes, soils and vegetation types. Many of these habitats grade into each other and each one has its own typical communities of plants and animals. A habitat may suit a particular species well, but its presence or absence at any particular location depends to some extent on chance, on its dispersal abilities and its efficiency as a coloniser. Freshwater habitats include rivers, lakes, ponds and bogs. Although some organisms are found across most of these habitats, the majority have more specific requirements; the water velocity, its temperature and oxygen saturation are important factors, but in river systems, there are fast and slow sections, pools and backwaters which provide a range of habitats.
Aquatic plants can be floating, semi-submerged, submerged or grow in permanently or temporarily saturated soils besides bodies of water. Marginal plants provide important habitat for both invertebrates and vertebrates, submerged plants provide oxygenation of the water, absorb nutrients and play a part in the reduction of pollution. Marine habitats include brackish water, bays, the open sea, the intertidal zone, the sea bed and deep / shallow water zones. Further variations include rock pools, sand banks, brackish lagoons and pebbly beaches, seagrass beds, all supporting their own flora and fauna; the benth
An environmentalist is a supporter of the goals of the environmental movement, "a political and ethical movement that seeks to improve and protect the quality of the natural environment through changes to environmentally harmful human activities". An environmentalist believes in the philosophy of environmentalism. Environmentalists are sometimes referred to using informal or derogatory terms such as "greenie" and "tree-hugger"; some of the notable environmentalists who have been active in lobbying for environmental protection and conservation include: Edward Abbey Ansel Adams Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad David Attenborough Sundarlal Bahuguna Patriarch Bartholomew I David Bellamy Wendell Berry Chandi Prasad Bhatt Murray Bookchin Stewart Brand David Brower Lester Brown Kevin Buzzacott Helen Caldicott Rachel Carson Charles, Prince of Wales Barry Commoner Jacques-Yves Cousteau Leonardo DiCaprio Rolf Disch René Dubos Paul R. Ehrlich Hans-Josef Fell Jane Fonda Mizuho Fukushima Rolf Gardiner Peter Garrett Al Gore James Hansen Denis Hayes Nicolas Hulot Tetsunari Iida John James Audubon Jorian Jenks Naomi Klein Aldo Leopold A.
Carl Leopold Charles Lindbergh James Lovelock Amory Lovins Hunter Lovins Caroline Lucas Mark Lynas Kaveh Madani Peter Max Bill McKibben David McTaggart Mahesh Chandra Mehta Chico Mendes George Monbiot John Muir Hilda Murrell Ralph Nader Gaylord Nelson Eugene Pandala Medha Patkar Alan Pears River Phoenix Jonathon Porritt Phil Radford Bonnie Raitt Theodore Roosevelt Ken Saro-Wiwa E. F. Schumacher Shimon Schwarzschild Vandana Shiva Gary Snyder Jill Stein Swami Sundaranand David Suzuki Candice Swanepoel Shōzō Tanaka Henry David Thoreau Greta Thunberg J. R. R. Tolkien Jo Valentine Dominique Voynet Harvey Wasserman Paul Watson Robert K. Watson Franz Weber Henry Williamson Shailene Woodley In recent years, there are not only environmentalist for natural environment but environmentalist for human environment. For instance, the activists who call for "mental green space" by getting rid of disadvantages of internet, cable TV, smartphones have been called "info-environmentalists". Environmentalism Global 500 Roll of Honour Grantham Prize for Excellence in Reporting on the Environment Heroes of the Environment Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement Conservationist Conservation movement Conservation ethic Ecology movement Goldman Environmental Prize Green libertarianism Ecofascism Green conservatism List of peace activists List of people associated with renewable energy List of pro-nuclear environmentalists Greenpeace School strike for climate EnviroLink Network - A non-profit clearinghouse of environmental news and information
Colonial Brazil comprises the period from 1500, with the arrival of the Portuguese, until 1815, when Brazil was elevated to a kingdom in union with Portugal as the United Kingdom of Portugal and the Algarves. During the early 300 years of Brazilian colonial history, the economic exploitation of the territory was based first on brazilwood extraction, which gave the territory its name. Slaves those brought from Africa, provided most of the work force of the Brazilian export economy after a brief period of Indian slavery to cut brazilwood. In contrast to the neighboring Spanish possessions, which had several viceroyalties with jurisdiction over New Spain and Peru, in the eighteenth century expanded to viceroyalties of Rio de la Plata and New Granada, the Portuguese colony of Brazil was settled in the coastal area by the Portuguese and a large black slave population working sugar plantations and mines; the boom and bust economic cycles were linked to export products. Brazil's sugar age, with the development of plantation slavery, merchants serving as middle men between production sites, Brazilian ports, Europe was undermined by the growth of the sugar industry in the Caribbean on islands that European powers seized from Spain.
Gold and diamonds were mined in southern Brazil through the end of the colonial era. Brazilian cities were port cities and the colonial administrative capital was moved several times in response to the rise and fall of export products' importance. Unlike Spanish America, which fragmented into many republics upon independence, Brazil remained a single administrative unit under a monarch, giving rise to the largest country in Latin America. Just as European Spanish and Roman Catholicism were a core source of cohesion among Spain's vast and multi-ethnic territories, Brazilian society was united by the Portuguese language and Roman Catholic faith; as the only Lusophone polity in the Western Hemisphere, the Portuguese language was important to Brazilian identity. Portugal and Spain pioneered the European charting of sea routes that were the first and only channels of interaction between all of the world's continents, thus beginning the process of globalization. In addition to the imperial and economic undertaking of discovery and colonization of lands distant from Europe, these years were filled with pronounced advancements in cartography and navigational instruments, of which the Portuguese and Spanish explorers took advantage.
In 1494, the two kingdoms of the Iberian Peninsula divided the New World between them, in 1500 navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral landed in what is now Brazil and laid claim to it in the name of King Manuel I of Portugal. The Portuguese identified brazilwood as a valuable red dye and an exploitable product, attempted to force indigenous groups in Brazil to cut the trees. Portuguese seafarers in the early fifteenth century began to expand from a small area of the Iberian Peninsula, to seizing the Muslim fortress of Ceuta in North Africa, its maritime exploration proceeded down the coast of West Africa and across the Indian Ocean to the south Asian subcontinent, as well as the Atlantic islands off the coast of Africa on the way. They sought sources of gold and African slaves, high value goods in the African trade; the Portuguese set up fortified trading "factories", whereby permanent small commercial settlements anchored trade in a region. The initial costs of setting up these commercial posts was borne by private investors, who in turn received hereditary titles and commercial advantages.
From the Portuguese Crown's point of view, its realm was expanded with little cost to itself. On the Atlantic islands of the Azores, Sāo Tomé, the Portuguese began plantation production of sugarcane using forced labor, a precedent for Brazil's sugar production in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries; the Portuguese "discovery" of Brazil was preceded by a series of treaties between the kings of Portugal and Castile, following Portuguese sailings down the coast of Africa to India and the voyages to the Caribbean of the Genoese mariner sailing for Castile, Christopher Columbus. The most decisive of these treaties was the Treaty of Tordesillas, signed in 1494, which created the Tordesillas Meridian, dividing the world between the two kingdoms. All land discovered or to be discovered east of that meridian was to be the property of Portugal, everything to the west of it went to Spain; the Tordesillas Meridian divided South America into two parts, leaving a large chunk of land to be exploited by the Spaniards.
The Treaty of Tordesillas was arguably the most decisive event in all Brazilian history, since it determined that part of South America would be settled by Portugal instead of Spain. The present extent of Brazil's coastline is exactly that defined by the Treaty of Madrid, approved in 1750. On April 22, 1500, during the reign of King Manuel I, a fleet led by navigator Pedro Álvares Cabral landed in Brazil and took possession of the land in the name of the king. Although it is debated whether previous Portuguese explorers had been in Brazil, this date is and politically accepted as the day of the discovery of Brazil by Europeans. Álvares Cabral was leading a large fleet of 13 ships and more than 1000 men following Vasco da Gama's way to India, around Africa. The place where Álvares Cabral arrived is now known in Northeastern Brazil. After the voyage of Álvares Cabral, the Portuguese concentrated their efforts on the lucrative possessions in Africa and India
United States Department of Agriculture
The United States Department of Agriculture known as the Agriculture Department, is the U. S. federal executive department responsible for developing and executing federal laws related to farming and food. It aims to meet the needs of farmers and ranchers, promote agricultural trade and production, work to assure food safety, protect natural resources, foster rural communities and end hunger in the United States and internationally. 80% of the USDA's $141 billion budget goes to the Food and Nutrition Service program. The largest component of the FNS budget is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the cornerstone of USDA's nutrition assistance; the current Secretary of Agriculture is Sonny Perdue. Many of the programs concerned with the distribution of food and nutrition to people of America and providing nourishment as well as nutrition education to those in need are run and operated under the USDA Food and Nutrition Service. Activities in this program include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, which provides healthy food to over 40 million low-income and homeless people each month.
USDA is a member of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, where it is committed to working with other agencies to ensure these mainstream benefits are accessed by those experiencing homelessness. The USDA is concerned with assisting farmers and food producers with the sale of crops and food on both the domestic and world markets, it plays a role in overseas aid programs by providing surplus foods to developing countries. This aid can go through USAID, foreign governments, international bodies such as World Food Program, or approved nonprofits; the Agricultural Act of 1949, section 416 and Agricultural Trade Development and Assistance Act of 1954 known as Food for Peace, provides the legal basis of such actions. The USDA is a partner of the World Cocoa Foundation. Early in its history, the economy of the United States was agrarian. Officials in the federal government had long sought new and improved varieties of seeds and animals for import into the United States. In 1837 Henry Leavitt Ellsworth, a Yale-educated attorney interested in improving agriculture, became Commissioner of Patents, a position within the Department of State.
He began collecting and distributing new varieties of seeds and plants through members of the Congress and agricultural societies. In 1839, Congress established the Agricultural Division within the Patent Office and allotted $1,000 for "the collection of agricultural statistics and other agricultural purposes." Ellsworth's interest in aiding agriculture was evident in his annual reports that called for a public depository to preserve and distribute the new seeds and plants, a clerk to collect agricultural statistics, statewide reports about crops in different regions, the application of chemistry to agriculture. Ellsworth was called the "Father of the Department of Agriculture."In 1849, the Patent Office was transferred to the newly created Department of the Interior. In the ensuing years, agitation for a separate bureau of agriculture within the department or a separate department devoted to agriculture kept recurring. On May 15, 1862, Abraham Lincoln established the independent Department of Agriculture to be headed by a commissioner without Cabinet status, the agriculturalist Isaac Newton was appointed to be the first such commissioner.
Lincoln called it the "people's department." In 1868, the Department moved into the new Department of Agriculture Building in Washington, D. C. designed by famed DC architect Adolf Cluss. Located on Reservation No.2 on the National Mall between 12th Street and 14th SW, the Department had offices for its staff and the entire width of the Mall up to B Street NW to plant and experiment with plants. In the 1880s, varied advocacy groups were lobbying for Cabinet representation. Business interests sought a Department of Commerce and Industry, farmers tried to raise the Department of Agriculture to Cabinet rank. In 1887, the House of Representatives and Senate passed bills giving Cabinet status to the Department of Agriculture and Labor, but the bill was defeated in conference committee after farm interests objected to the addition of labor. On February 9, 1889, President Grover Cleveland signed a bill into law elevating the Department of Agriculture to Cabinet level. In 1887, the Hatch Act provided for the federal funding of agricultural experiment stations in each state.
The Smith-Lever Act of 1914 funded cooperative extension services in each state to teach agriculture, home economics, other subjects to the public. With these and similar provisions, the USDA reached out to every county of every state. During the Great Depression, farming remained a common way of life for millions of Americans; the Department of Agriculture's Bureau of Home Economics, established in 1923, published shopping advice and recipes to stretch family budgets and make food go farther. USDA helped ensure that food continued to be produced and distributed to those who needed it, assisted with loans for small landowners, contributed to the education of the rural youth, it was revealed on August 27th, 2018 that the U. S. Department of Agriculture would be providing U. S. farmers with a farm aid package, which will total $4.7 billion in direct payments to American farmers. This package is meant to offset the losses farmers are expected to incur from retaliatory tariffs placed on American exports during the Trump tariffs.
The Department of Agriculture was authorized a budget for Fiscal Year 2015 of $139.7 billion. The budget authorization is broken down as follows: Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service Animal Damage Control (