WASHINGTON — Editor’s note: The following statements have been released in response to the Trump Administration’s FY 2020 budget proposal.
Secretary Perdue Statement on President Trump’s Budget Proposal
WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue issued the following statement after President Trump submitted his FY 2020 budget proposal to Congress:
“Our economy is booming, and unemployment is the lowest it’s been in decades. While the agriculture community still faces challenges, the Trump economy is creating new opportunities for all Americans to thrive,” said Secretary Perdue. “President Trump’s budget is fiscally conservative and lays out a vision for an accountable federal government that cuts spending. With our national debt soaring to over $22 trillion, we can no longer kick the can down the road. The time to act is now and USDA will actively do its part in reducing federal spending. We are stewards of other people’s money and must be diligent in spending it more carefully than we would our own when it comes to delivering our programs. At the same time, we will maintain a safety net for farmers, ranchers, foresters, producers, and people who need assistance in feeding their families.”
Peterson Slams White House Request for 15 Percent Cut to USDA
WASHINGTON — House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota released the following statement in response to release today of the White House’s FY2020 budget request, which calls for a 15 percent cut to USDA programs:
“The President’s budget request is a road map for how to make things worse for farmers, ranchers and those who live in rural communities: $26 billion in cuts to crop insurance; $9 billion in cuts to successful, voluntary conservation programs; $5 billion in cuts to Section 32 programs that help purchase commodities in times of need; $8 billion in cuts to programs that help ranchers recover grazing lands hurt by drought; yet another attempt to cut SNAP; elimination of the Rural Energy for America and Rural Economic Development programs and billions in other cuts. This proposal tells us one of two things: either the White House doesn’t understand why these programs are important, or they don’t care. What’s more, all of these shortsighted cuts are second and third attempts to revisit policy proposals that were rejected in the farm bill negotiations. This budget was concocted by a bunch of ideologues who can’t see what’s clearly going on in the farm economy. The good news is this budget is going nowhere in Congress, where the bipartisan farm bill passed with 369 votes.”
–House Agriculture Committee
Ranking Member Stabenow: Trump Administration Budget Undermines the Bipartisan Farm Bill
WASHINGTON — U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Ranking Member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry released the following statement in response to the Trump administration’s fiscal year 2019 preview budget proposal. The Administration calls for a 15% cut to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), on top of a $267 billion cut to Farm Bill investments.
“Just months after the President signed the historic bipartisan Farm Bill into law, his budget proposal rolls back much of this critical support for agriculture and rural America. The steep cuts to the USDA would jeopardize the Department’s ability to implement the Farm Bill at a time when farmers are struggling with economic instability and trade uncertainty.
“I strongly oppose actions that undermine the bipartisan Farm Bill and I will lead the bipartisan effort to ensure Congress rejects this budget, just as we have done in the previous proposals.”
–The Office of U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow
U.S. Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, & Forestry
President’s Budget Yet Again Neglects Severity of Farm Economy
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump revealed his proposed fiscal year 2020 budget, proposing cuts to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and other federal agencies in order to increase spending on a proposed border wall and defense initiatives.
National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson said the proposal continues the administration’s disturbing trend of neglect for the welfare of farm families across the United States:
“There is a very clear disconnect between President Trump’s priorities and the economic realities facing family farmers, ranchers, and rural communities. Despite the rapid decline in the farm economy, additional damages from self-inflicted trade disruptions, increasing demand for credit, overloaded farm hotlines, and deteriorating infrastructure in rural communities, the White House today called for significant cuts to the one department tasked with serving farm families, rural residents and those struggling with food insecurity.”
“Passing the 2018 Farm Bill was an important, bipartisan accomplishment. Rather than turning right around and proposing cuts to farm programs, the President should be working to build on that success by providing needed additional support for family farmers and ranchers.
“For three years now, President Trump has been calling for cuts to important programs within USDA. 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.”
–National Farmers Union
President’s Budget Puts Agriculture Back on the Chopping Block
Family farmers, rural communities, and food insecure families face $2 billion cut to services
WASHINGTON (National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition) — Seemingly unphased by Congress’ resounding rejection of his previously proposed budget cuts to agriculture spending, today the President recommended $2.2 billion (a roughly ten percent cut compared to FY 2019 enacted levels) in cuts to federal food and farm programs as part of his FY 2020 budget proposal. Although the President’s “skinny budget” is historically light on details, there are a few specifics of note:
- Slashes funding for the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program, USDA’s only farmer-driven agriculture research program, in half.
- Cuts funding for the Food Safety Outreach Program in half, just as the first wave of Food Safety Modernization Act inspections are beginning for the nation’s produce farmers.
- Eliminates the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program.
- Cuts funding for Conservation Technical Assistance by $71 million (ten percent).
- Recommends a $75 million increase for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) compared to FY 2019, and an additional $100 million to address aging research infrastructure.
- Proposes $25 million will be needed to relocate the Economic Research Service and National Institute of Food and Agriculture; a plan widely opposed by food and farm groups, including the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC).
- Reintroduces the Harvest Box proposal, which was widely criticized by anti-hunger and food access organizations when it was first floated in the President’s FY 2019 budget.
The proposal also makes several recommendations that would require policy changes and/or affect farm bill mandatory spending, including:
- Eliminates the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), America’s only comprehensive working lands conservation program, and makes cuts to mandatory farm bill funding for other conservation programs.
- Cuts $17 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
- Reforms to federal crop insurance and commodity programs, including: reduction of the average premium subsidy for crop insurance from 62 percent to 48 percent; limiting commodity, conservation, and crop insurance subsidies to those producers that have an Adjusted Gross Income of $500,000 or less; capping underwriting gains at 12 percent; tightening commodity payment limits, including eliminating the separate payment limit for peanut producers and limiting eligibility for commodity subsidies to one manager per farm.
“While the budget released today doesn’t give us all the details on the President’s priorities for FY 2020, the $2.2 billion in cuts targeted to agriculture and food programs sends a clear message that America’s farmers and rural communities don’t make the list” said NSAC Senior Policy Specialist Wes King.
“The 2018 Farm Bill made historic investments in key initiatives like support for beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers and ranchers, organic research, and local/regional food systems, and that is the path on which we need to keep moving in FY 2020. Implementation of the farm bill’s programs – including new programs like the Local Agriculture Market Program (LAMP) and long-standing programs like SARE and CSP – need adequate funding to do the work mandated by Congress. We ask that Congress not turn their backs on the promises of the 2018 Farm Bill, and that they instead build upon the bill’s pledged investments.”
“Although we support the President’s aims to increase agriculture research funding and make long-overdue reforms to federal crop insurance and commodity programs, we reject his proposal to cut billions in vital USDA programs and services that support our nation’s farmers and rural communities, and urge Congress to do the same.”
–National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition
NAWG Voices Concern About President’s 2020 Budget Proposal
WASHINGTON — Today, the White House Office of Management and Budget Acting Director Russ Vought released the President’s Fiscal Year 2020 Budget of the United States Government: “A Budget for a Better America: Promises Kept. Taxpayers First.”
In response, NAWG President and Lavon, TX wheat farmer Ben Scholz issued the following:
“While NAWG continues to review the budget proposal in more detail, we do see that it proposes drastic cuts to some key programs for farmers. Congress just passed a farm bill by historical margins from both sides of the aisle which rejected many of these misguided cuts to agriculture that are proposed in the President’s budget request.
“The Administration’s 2020 proposal will make crop insurance policies more expensive for farmers when input costs already remain high and commodity prices are low. This additional cost could result in many growers not having insurance and may make it difficult for them to stay in business. NAWG will continue to impress upon Congress the difficult economic conditions in wheat country and thus why these programs shouldn’t be cut through the budget and appropriations process.”
–National Association of Wheat Growers
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