Ag concerned about Trump budget

White House _Credit AFBF

                    Photo from AFBF, FB.org

By Deana Stroisch

 

Fiscal Year 2018 budget proposal calls for cuts to crop insurance, conservation and rural development programs.

President Donald Trump’s proposed fiscal year 2018 budget calls for $28.8 billion in cuts to federal crop insurance over the next 10 years.

USDA’s proposed budget would cap premium subsidies at $40,000 per farmer, limit eligibility for crop insurance and commodity payments to farmers who earn $500,000 a year or less and eliminate the Harvest Price Option on revenue policies.

The budget also includes cuts to conservation and rural development programs and imposes four new ag-related user fees. USDA’s workforce would be reduced by 5,263 employees, including 973 at Farm Service Agency.

The proposed cuts are part of Trump’s plan to cut federal spending by $3.6 trillion over 10 years. Trump’s spending plan also suggests funding increases for his campaign promises: national security, border security, law enforcement and veterans, as well as a mandatory six weeks of paid parental leave program.

Agriculture groups, including Illinois Farm Bureau, expressed concern about Trump’s proposed budget.

“Illinois Farm Bureau is concerned that the president’s proposed significant cuts to vital programs like crop insurance and commodity programs come at a time of low commodity prices, reduced farm incomes and as Illinois farmers are struggling against Mother Nature to get the 2017 crop planted — or in many cases — replanted,” said Richard Guebert Jr., Illinois Farm Bureau president. “Years like 2017 clearly demonstrate the risks farmers continually face and the need for a fully funded federal crop insurance program.”

Illinois farmers have pointed to crop insurance as the single most important program.

Zippy Duvall, American Farm Bureau Federation president, said the proposed budget “fails agriculture and rural America.”

“Farm income is down substantially since Congress passed the last farm bill,” Duvall said. “USDA cuts of this magnitude in the current economic cycle would be unwarranted and unwise. AFBF will work with the House and Senate Agriculture, Appropriations and Budget committees to protect programs that are critical in managing risks inherent to production agriculture, and maintain programs that are vital to rural communities.”

Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.

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