Trump reheats old ag ideas in new budget

 

Ryan McCrimmon, POLITICO

02/11/2020

 

With help from Liz Crampton and Doug Palmer

 

The final budget request of Trump’s first term landed on Monday afternoon. MA readers got an early look at his plans for shrinking the Agriculture Department’s budget, swapping food stamp benefits for Harvest Boxes and gashing crop insurance, conservation and commodity programs. Those are all familiar proposals that Congress has ignored in the past and will almost surely reject once again.

 

So what’s new? With his reelection rapidly approaching, Trump is looking to infuse money into rural communities for transportation infrastructure, water systems and better internet access, Pro Ag’s Catherine Boudreu and your host report. That includes a new $25 billion grant program to finance such projects, though the administration didn’t spell out where the money would come from.

 

Trump also recommended $614 million for rural water and wastewater projects — a USDA program that he proposed eliminating just a few years ago — and an extra $250 million for a rural broadband pilot program. (Congress has already shelled out $1.1 billion for that effort.)

 

Having it both ways? The spending plan touts USDA’s trade bailout program for farmers, which accounts for roughly one-third of farm income along with crop insurance benefits and disaster aid. Of course, the budget goes on to call for bulldozing crop insurance subsidies, while trade relief payments are likely to drop off dramatically this calendar year as the program winds down.

 

No more double-dipping? The budget also proposes tightening federal rules so producers can’t be reimbursed more than 100 percent of their losses by doubling up on aid programs.

 

Rounding up the rest ...

 

Odds and ends ...

 

AG INSPECTORS BILL HEADED TO TRUMP’S DESK ...

 

“It is critical that we have enough CBP agriculture inspectors ...

 

The National Pork Producers Council called the bill a “top priority” for the industry ...

 

What’s next? ...

 

TWO YEARS OF TARIFFS TAKE A TOLL ...

 

TRADE TROUBLE ACROSS THE POND ...

 

more, including links

https://www.politico.com/newsletters/morning-agriculture/2020/02/11/trump-reheats-old-ag-ideas-in-new-budget-785268