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Trump targets farm subsidies in budget cuts

Trump targets farm subsidies in budget cuts

Some of the biggest proposed cuts come from changes to the crop insurance system, which many farmers rely on to keep their operations running.

CHICAGO The White House budget on Monday proposed $46.54 billion in cuts to federal government funding for the agriculture sector over the next 10 years. The crop insurance program is widely used by soybean farmers, and the harvest price option was selected in 99.4 percent of soybean revenue insurance policies sold in 2016.

"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". The administration also proposes to limit crop insurance subsidies to farms with an adjusted gross income of $500,000 or less. Together, the two proposals would reduce or eliminate the subsidies for large, wealthy growers, Agriculture.com reported. "The plan also would "streamline" conservation, leading to $5.75 billion in cuts to conservation programs over 10 years". There is no income means testing for 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". He indicated his support for many items in the FY 2018 budget, but said the President's budget for agriculture does not work.

Stabenow said the budget proposal would make it almost impossible for Congress to pass a new farm bill, and added that she is concerned that the budget request for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission would not come close to meeting the needs of that agency to regulate markets.

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"President Trump promised he would re-align government spending ... and see that all government agencies are efficiently delivering services to the taxpayers of America", said U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue, who talked briefly about the budget during a teleconference with reporters after it was released today (May 23).

Several crop insurance groups - including the American Association of Crop Insurers, Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau, Crop Insurance Professionals Association, Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, National Association of Professional Insurance Agents and National Crop Insurance Services - issued a joint statement regarding the cuts to crop insurance premiums. NCGA members consistently tell us that crop insurance is their most important risk management tool. "I'm hopeful we can get past this ideology and make reasonable reforms as part of future farm bill debate but this is not a good place to start".

Key research programs aimed at helping farmers adapt to the changing climate - like programs that offer grants to farmers interested in experimenting with innovative conservation techniques - would also face deep cuts under the proposed budget.

"The American Farm Bureau Federation and its 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 overall proposed budget cuts would eliminate the Rural Economic Development program, which provides zero-interest loans to rural utilities and support to rural businesses.

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