Farm Groups Unhappy With President's Proposed Ag Budget

25 May, 2017, 01:56 | Author: Lorraine Moran
  • Farm Groups Unhappy With President's Proposed Ag Budget

Massive cuts mark the Trump administration's proposed budget for the USDA, drawing swift reaction from a number of agricultural organizations along with the reminder that much of what the president has proposed is unlikely to make it through Congress.

In addition, the White House looks to gouge $4.7 billion from the USDA's discretionary budget, eliminating rural development, conservation and some statistical services.

"Weakening crop insurance and making it more hard for farmers to bounce back during tough times will jeopardize rural jobs and will find little support in rural America or on Capitol Hill", the statement reads in part. It proposes new restrictions on government-subsidized crop insurance, a program that is particular favorite of grain farmers.

"The Trump administration also wants to eliminate both direct commodity payments and crop-insurance eligibility for farmers with more than $500,000 in adjusted gross income", Clayton writes.

Reducing conservation program funding by $5.8 billion over the 2018-2027 period.

"Any reduction in the discount for crop insurance will increase the cost of crop insurance to farmers".

The danger of the White House budget, said Ron Moore, an IL farmer and president of the American Soybean Association, "is that the extreme and ill-informed cuts in this document will embolden those in Congress who lack any understanding of how these programs combine to protect the food and farm supply chain for all Americans".

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How will all of the proposed changes in the USDA program funding be received by Congress? However, proposing cuts to crop insurance and weakening the farm bill is not the right approach. "Such cuts would leave farmers, ranchers, and consumers without an effective safety net, and would make passing a new Farm Bill nearly certainly impossible", National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson said.

In a video message to USDA employees, Perdue said USDA would accommodate job cuts through attrition, early retirements "or other least-disruptive means". USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 18 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA's Foreign Agricultural Service. "The danger is that the extreme and ill-informed cuts in this document will embolden those in Congress who lack any understanding of how these programs combine to protect the food and farm supply chain for all Americans". The request calls for significant cuts to farm bill safety net and risk management programs at a time when net farm income is almost half what it was just three years ago.

Zippy Duval, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation stated, "The administration's budget proposal fails to recognize agriculture's current financial challenges or its historical contribution to deficit reduction".

Farm Bureau members are concerned about the federal budget deficit. It would drastically reshape important voluntary conservation programs and negatively impact consumer confidence in critical meat and poultry inspection.

The proposed budget zeroes out programs like the USDA's Farm Safety program, which seeks to reduce farm sector injuries by training workers in how to properly use farming equipment.

The overall proposed budget cuts would eliminate the Rural Economic Development program, which provides zero-interest loans to rural utilities and support to rural businesses. "It is deeply disappointing that the President would propose such cuts, especially in the midst of a farm crisis that has family farmers and ranchers enduring a drastic, four-year slide in farm prices and a 50 percent drop in net farm income", NFU President Roger Johnson said.

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