DNC Statement on Secretary Perdue in Iowa
August 5, 2017
In response to Secretary of Agriculture Perdue’s visit to the Iowa Ag Summit, DNC Midwest Press Secretary Mandy McClure released the following statement:
“Agriculture and food policies must address the needs and interests of farmers, rural communities, and consumers. Unfortunately, President Trump and Secretary Perdue have yet to implement effective policies to support the well-being of Iowa farmers. In fact, Trump’s proposed budget would dismantle critical agricultural programs that have benefited rural Iowa communities, including deep cuts to crop insurance programs, nutrition assistance, housing subsidies, rural utility programs, and infrastructure investments that maintain access to clean water. As Congress is preparing to craft the 2018 Farm Bill, Republicans must work across the aisle to put forward a balanced, bipartisan bill that strengthens programs for farm families, invests in conservation and energy, and creates jobs by growing the economic base of Iowa’s rural communities.”
Trump’s budget proposal slashes lifelines for rural America.
Associated Press: “A fiscal analysis shows federal grant funding to Iowa would drop by more than $100 million under President Donald Trump's proposed budget, a move that would force the state to reduce services or find other funding for programs ranging from early education to job training. The documents posted this month by the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency offer the first details about what Trump's proposed federal budget could mean for Iowa.”
Trump’s budget proposed deep cuts to the agricultural sector, including to key farm safety net programs.
Reuters: “U.S. farm groups on Tuesday pushed back against President Donald Trump’s proposal to slash agriculture spending, viewing it as a fresh threat to a struggling farm economy. The White House on Monday proposed $46.54 billion in cuts to federal government funding for the agriculture sector over the next 10 years, including limits on federal subsidies for crop insurance premiums.
Iowa Farmer Today: “American Soybean Association President Ron Moore, a farmer from Roseville, Ill., was blunt in the press release issued by his organization. ‘By shredding our farm safety net, slashing critical agricultural research and conservation initiatives, and hobbling our access to foreign markets, this budget is a blueprint for how to make already difficult times in rural America even worse,’ he said.”
Reuters: “‘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.”
Iowa Farmer Today: “The American Farm Bureau Federation, National Farmers Union, American Soybean Association and National Crop Insurance Services all were among the groups that quickly issued statements condemning large parts of the proposed budget.”
Trump’s budget would cut federal crop insurance programs by $29 billion over 10 years – a 36 percent drop from current levels – and impose an unprecedented means test on farmers to qualify.
Reuters: “Some of the biggest proposed cuts come from changes to the crop insurance system, which many farmers rely on to keep their operations running.”
Iowa Farmer Today: “[American Soybean Association President Ron Moore] said the cut to crop insurance would be a roughly 36 percent change. ‘Thirty-six percent is the most extreme proposed cut to crop insurance I’ve seen in my 40 years on the farm,’ Moore said.”
Bloomberg BNA: “The budget would also limit the popular harvest price option for crop insurance, generating another $11.9 billion in savings.”
The Omaha World Herald: “Smaller line items would impose means testing to qualify for crop insurance, for which there was no previous qualification, and another change would reduce by about 45 percent the gross income cap for farmers to qualify for programs that pay out when commodity prices fall below a fixed level. The new adjusted gross income threshold for those proposals would be $500,000.”
Trump’s budget would impose a $40,000 cap on crop insurance premium subsidies, which could prevent some farmers from insuring their entire acreage. There is currently no limit on crop insurance.
The Omaha World Herald: “The president’s proposal to balance the budget with $3.6 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years includes caps on federal subsidies paid to farmers for crop insurance at $40,000. It would also eliminate a program that helps insulate farm revenues from market volatility.”
Trump’s budget slashes funding for rural business owners and efforts to promote business development and job training in rural communities.
The Washington Post: “Funding for rural business owners also would be slashed, from nearly $130 million in 2017 to $31 million.”
USDA: “USDA’s Rural Business-Cooperative Service offers programs to support business development and job training opportunities for rural residents…. Through its Business Programs, Rural Development helps provide much-needed capital in rural areas, often in partnership with private-sector lenders and community-based organizations. The capital may be in the form of loan guarantees, direct loans or grants to individuals, rural businesses, cooperatives, farmers and ranchers, public bodies, non-profit corporations, Native American Tribes and private companies.”
Trump’s hardline immigration policies could cause serious farm labor shortages and make food prices skyrocket. The USDA estimates only 22 percent of U.S. crop workers were born in the United States.
The Chicago Tribune: “The American Farm Bureau Federation says strict immigration enforcement would raise food prices 5 to 6 percent because of a drop in supply and because of the higher labor costs farmers could face.”
The Los Angeles Times: “To keep crops from rotting in the field, farmers say they need trump to let in more temporary workers.”
Trump’s budget proposed slashing the USDA’s discretionary budget by $18 billion – a 21 percent drop.
CNBC: “Overall, the president's discretionary funding request for USDA in fiscal 2018 is about $18 billion, a decline of about 21 percent from the 2017 annualized continuing resolution level.”
Trump’s budget proposed cutting SNAP by more than 25 percent and increasing work requirements for the program, despite the fact that rural communities rely heavily on nutrition assistance programs.
NPR: “…proposed restrictions on the SNAP program, which helps the poor buy food. Those changes would cut SNAP spending by $4.6 billion in 2018, increasing to more than $20 billion annually by 2022.”
Bloomberg BNA: “The budget proposal’s biggest USDA-related cuts would come to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as the food stamp program. The administration would achieve $193 billion in savings though tightening work requirements and block-granting funds to the states.”
USA Today: “Medicaid, nutrition assistance and Social Security disability insurance are all disproportionately used by people who don’t have a college degree and who live in rural areas.”
Trump’s budget takes an axe to housing subsidies for rural families and eliminate loans for rural housing revitalization.
The Washington Post: “USDA’s Rural Housing Service would also see billions in cuts that virtually eliminate direct loans and mortgage guarantees for rural households, potentially making homeownership and revitalization more difficult. Under the administration’s proposals, there is no funding for new housing grants for rural families or farm laborers in the budget, nor for direct loan subsidies…The Rural Housing Insurance Fund — which provides mortgages to rural home buyers and insures home loans — would cut the budget for its direct-loan program to $250 million in 2018, from nearly $3.7 billion in 2016.”
The Washington Post: The budget would also end housing repair grants for very low-income people in non-metro areas, saving $30 million from 2016 levels, and would end a program that provides loans for rural housing revitalization, saving another $20 million.”
Trump’s budget cuts Community Development Block Grants that small cities in Iowa depend on.
Center for Budget and Policy Priorities: “Trump’s proposed budget would cost Iowa approximately $33,067,708 in funding it receives from the Community Development Block Grant Program.”
The Des Moines Register: “Tim Waddell, a community development division administrator for the Iowa Economic Development Authority, said the proposed end to the 43-year-old program could cause rates to increase for some small cities that would lose federal help for system upgrades. ‘Small cities particularly depend on it,’ Waddell said. ‘When you lose a revenue source that means the burden goes back to the individuals that are supporting the system.’”
Trump’s budget cuts billions from energy assistance programs like LIHEAP and the Home Weatherization Program that help low-income Iowa homeowners afford their heating and cooling bills.
Associated Press: “Among Trump's plans are to eliminate a popular Department of Energy home weatherization program, which in the current federal fiscal year provided about $4.8 million for energy efficiency projects in low-income Iowa houses.”
Center for Budget and Policy Priorities: “Iowa stands to lose $53.6 million annually if LIHEAP is eliminated.”
Trump’s budget proposed massive cuts to infrastructure programs, including funding for rural utilities and internet connectivity and halving rural airport subsidies.
The Washington Post: “The Rural Utilities Service would lose billions of dollars under the proposed budget for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, including more than $2 billion used to keep power lines, phones and Internet connectivity working in rural areas.”
Reuters: “Subsidies for commercial air travel in rural areas would be cut by more than half.”
Trump’s budget eliminates a program dedicated to helping rural communities maintain access to clean water.
Bloomberg BNA: “Also eliminated is the Agriculture Department’s $498 million loan and grant program for rural waste water projects and the direct home loan program for single-family housing, which provides financing assistance to low-income rural residents.”
Reuters: “The program helps fund clean water and sewer systems in communities with less than 10,000 people.”
Trump’s plans to dismantle NAFTA have fostered uncertainty in the agricultural sector, with exports of soybeans, corn and chicken dropping since trump took office.
The Economist: “Farmers have benefited from NAFTA more than other industries, which is why they are now fighting hard against messing about with the treaty. In 1993 America exported corn, soybeans and other farm products worth $8.9bn to Canada and Mexico; by 2015 farm exports were worth $39bn. Some 30% of all American farm trade is with Mexico and Canada…The top three commodities exported to Mexico are maize (corn), soybeans and pork; Iowa is a major producer of all these.”
The Economist: “Kevin Skunes, a leader of the National Corn Growers Association, said that exports account for fully one-third of corn farmers’ income. American corn exports to Canada and Mexico have increased more than sevenfold since 1994. Last year they supported 25,000 jobs and provided income for 300,000 farmers.”
The Atlantic: “…since Trump took office—and as Mexican farmers explore their ’Plan B’—U.S. soybean exports to Mexico have dropped 15 percent, the first of any kind of drop in four years; corn has dropped 6 percent; and chicken dropped 11 percent, the biggest decline in 14 years.”