In this file:
· Agriculture reacts to proposed USDA budget cuts
For Third Straight Year, Trump Proposes Massive USDA Cuts
· Congressman Kind calls Trump budget “Dead on arrival”
Agriculture reacts to proposed USDA budget cuts
By Carol Ryan Dumas, Capital Press
Mar 13, 2019
President Trump’s budget for 2020 includes cutting USDA’s discretionary funding by 15% — $3.6 billion — to $20.8 billion.
It also requests a nearly $2 billion decrease in mandatory funding for USDA’s rural and agricultural programs and slashes $17.4 billion in funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
Trump’s “skinny budget” goes even further to reduce all government spending by $2.7 trillion over 10 years to rein in the $1 trillion budget deficit and get a handle on the $22 trillion national debt.
His 10-year budget plan would reduce spending on mandatory programs at USDA by $61.3 billion by 2029 — including a $26 billion cut to crop insurance — and an additional reduction in nutrition program spending of $219.8 billion.
While the proposal is only a “wish list” and unlikely to garner congressional approval, it’s enough to raise concern in farm country and on Capitol Hill.
In addition to reducing subsidies for crop insurance premiums and limiting crop insurance eligibility based on income, the proposal would limit eligibility for commodity program payments, reduce funding for conservation programs and government commodity purchases and eliminate the Livestock Forage Program.
National Farmers Union said the president’s budget yet again neglects the severity of the farm economy.
“There is a very clear disconnect between President Trump’s priorities and the economic realities facing family farmers, ranchers and rural communities,” Roger Johnson, NFU president, said in a statement.
The president is calling for significant cuts to the one department tasked with serving farm families, rural residents and those struggling with food insecurity, he said...
For Third Straight Year, Trump Proposes Massive USDA Cuts
By Bryce Oates, The Daily Yonder
March 12, 2019
The Trump administration’s latest budget recommendation for USDA looks a lot like proposals that failed to pass a Republican-controlled Congress for two years running. With Democrats now at the helm in the House, it’s doubtful the third time will be the charm for the president’s goal of creating big funding cuts for USDA.
After failing to accomplish its goal of cutting rural programs supporting low income families, economic development and conservation through the 2018 Farm Bill negotiations, the Trump administration is once again calling for deep spending and service cuts in rural America.
President Trump’s budget request to Congress, “A Budget for a Better America,” would decrease USDA spending by $3.6 billion, a 15% cut, though farm, food and rural development cuts amount to closer to $2.2 billion when compared with actual Congressional appropriations. Congress is expected to reject the proposal as they have done in the past.
Just like the 2018 and 2019 budgets, Trump’s budgets once again reflect similar proposals from the Republican Study Committee (the House Freedom Caucus policy arm) and the Heritage Foundation (a conservative “limited government” think tank).
“People who are working day-to-day on the farm or in rural communities, they don’t have time to pay attention to all of this, those are the people getting the short end of the stick in this budget,” said Wes King, senior policy specialist for the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. “It does seem sometimes like they [the Trump administration] have made a calculation to keep the Freedom Caucus and Heritage Foundation happy.”
King is concerned that the budget proposal could re-open issues resolved in the 2018 Farm Bill, which passed with huge bipartisan majorities in December. “While we generally support reforms to crop insurance and commodity programs, why are they choosing to take this on now?” King asked, pointing to provisions in the president’s budget to limit farm program payments to high-income families.
“The farm bill got signed into law in December. Trump signed it. Why propose to open up the farm bill again right after you signed these investments into law. It leaves you scratching your head wondering, is this serious?” King said.
King and others in the sustainable agriculture community are also concerned about the president’s proposal to eliminate the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP). “That’s concerning because of the way the farm bill legislative process went down and how the Trump administration has previously proposed to eliminate CSP. House Republicans have repeatedly tried to eliminate CSP. The fact that it’s on their list again adds to our concerns, so obviously this is one of the places we’re going to have to be most vigilant when it comes to oversite of farm bill implementation.”
The National Farmers Union (NFU) also criticized the Trump budget. “For three years now, President Trump has been calling for cuts to important programs within USDA,” NFU President Roger Johnson said in a statement. “Yet for the third straight year, a majority of American farmers and ranchers are expected to lose money farming. Major relief is needed to weather these tough times in agriculture. It’s time the president’s policy proposals and rhetoric acknowledge the financial pain in farm country.”
Trump’s USDA budget also proposes big cuts in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and additional work requirements for recipients, another administration priority rejected by Congress during the farm bill debate. The budget proposal will cut the $220 billion over the next 10 years in SNAP, said Jim Weill, president of Food Research & Action Center (FRAC), in a press release...
more, including links, table
Congressman Kind calls Trump budget “Dead on arrival”
By Larry Lee, Brownfield
March 13, 2019
A Wisconsin Congressman says President Trump’s budget proposal is going nowhere. “It’s dead on arrival. Republicans, Democrats alike are saying that. The time for any reform of these agriculture programs was when we were considering the farm bill.”
Democrat Ron Kind of La Crosse tells Brownfield the way things work in Washington, it’s too late to reform any farm programs until the next farm bill. “Where was the President and his administration then? Now he submits a budget that he knows isn’t going anywhere because it’s ridiculous, and now they’re talking about reforming some of these agriculture programs?”
Like Trump, Kind supports limiting eligibility for agricultural subsidies, but...