The budget includes a 16 percent decrease in USDA spending
By Diego Flammini
President Trump’s proposed budget is not sitting well with many American farm groups.
In An American Budget, President Trump calls for $19 billion in USDA funding during the 2019 fiscal year. That represents a $3.7 billion, or 16 percent decrease, from the $22.7 billion approved spending in 2017-18.
Budget highlights pertaining to the USDA include:
- Reducing funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by $17.2 billion in 2019 and $213.5 billion over the next decade
- Eliminating $136 million in funding for conservation grants
- Cutting the federal crop insurance program by $22.4 billion between 2019 and 2028
- Eliminating the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant Program
- Cutting the $166 million Food for Progress program
The Livestock Forage Program and lower priority Farm Bill programs would also be eliminated at an estimated savings of about $470 million in 2019, according to the budget document.
And farm organizations are especially unhappy with the changes to the crop insurance programs.
Congress shouldn’t even consider passing this budget, according to the American Soybean Association (ASA).
“We strongly urge Congress to push this budget to the side and continue to advance practical farm policy,” ASA president John Heisdorffer said in a statement yesterday. “The proposed cuts in crop insurance and farm programs make this budget a non-starter. This budget revisits (crop insurance and farm program) cuts to an even greater degree, cutting crop insurance by approximately 30 percent.”
Targeting the crop insurance program “extremely short-sighted” and “is particularly harmful during an extended period of low commodity prices,” the National Corn Growers Association said in a statement Monday.
However, some items in the President’s budget could benefit rural America.
President Trump has asked Congress for $50 billion in spending for Rural Formula Funds. That money would be used for rural infrastructure developments including broadband Internet service.
He also requested $65 million from the Food and Drug Administration to support teams in high-risk rural communities where opioid use is an issue. The funding would improve access to care, and expand treatment and recovery services.
The next generation of American farmers could also benefit from the 2019 budget.
The President requested $50 million to increase agricultural science literacy programs and community groups like 4-H clubs.
And the American Farm Bureau is pleased with these investments.
“The proposed $50 billion in rural spending will help restore our deteriorating infrastructure and protect U.S. agriculture’s place as a world leader in production,” Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau, said in a statement Monday. “With less bureaucratic red tape and more local ownership, we’re confident this (budget) plan gives rural America the tools to drive our economy forward.”
Top photo: Copies of President Trump's An American Budget