Farm Groups Mad At Trump For Failing Ag Community In New Budget

Evan Vucci  AP
Evan Vucci AP

25 May, 2017

The Trump cuts are far more sweeping than what was proposed and rejected by lawmakers during the Obama administration. The White House's proposed budget also would cut almost $9 billion from Title I commodity supports, including the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, by reducing the adjusted gross income (AGI) eligibility cap from $900,000 to $500,000.

Ironically, this is being proposed at a time when possibly half of IL farmers will have insurance claims because of flooding, replanting and abandoned acreage.

"The proposal slashes crop insurance by $29 billion, conservation programmes by $6 billion, and SNAP by $191 billion, in addition to $3 billion in cuts to other farm programmes".

Trump's budget imposes a $40,000 limit on crop insurance premium subsidies, which could prevent some farmers from insuring their entire acreage.

One area that numerous farm groups are anxious about is crop insurance.

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". We're aware that Congress-not the president-passes the budget, and agriculture has rebuffed attacks on farm and food programs for years.

Farmers and ranchers are concerned about President Trump's "Taxpayer First" budget released this week but Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue defended significant cuts to USDA in the name of balancing the budget. He indicated his support for many items in the FY 2018 budget, but said the President's budget for agriculture does not work.

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But changes in crop insurance that cause farmers to cut back on plantings could provide relief to a global balance sheet heavy with supplies. "In 2015, lawmakers reversed $3 billion in cuts to crop insurance over 10 years nearly immediately after they were enacted after the Obama administration cut a budget agreement with Congressional leaders". 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.

"It's clear that this budget was written without input from farmers who would be severely affected", Ron Moore, president of the American Soybean Association, said in a statement.

Most farm and commodity groups would agree, hoping Congress will better understand agriculture's challenges.

Michigan Sen. Debbie Stabenow, ranking Democrat on the Senate Agriculture Committee, said reduced subsidies "would leave our farmers, families and rural communities vulnerable in tough times".

In a statement, the American Farm Bureau Federation said that "this budget fails agriculture and rural America". It would drastically reshape important voluntary conservation programs and negatively impact consumer confidence in critical meat and poultry inspection. The cuts would reduce or eliminate programs that support rural small businesses and utilities including clean water initiatives.

Larew says if President Trump wants to build the economy, the cuts he's proposing won't help.

"This budget seems to really go after the people that got the president elected", said Zack Clark, government relations director at the National Farmers Union.

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