Perdue Must Answer Questions on Devastating Agriculture Cuts

As House Republicans are proposing a more than $20 billion cut to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Secretary Perdue testifies in front of Congress today where he will have to defend even more devastating cuts in Trump’ budget that would hurt farmers and rural communities.


Trump’s budget cuts the USDA’s funding by 15 percent.


Washington Post: “The Trump administration is seeking to cut the Department of Agriculture’s discretionary budget by $3.5 billion, or 15 percent, while also slashing by $17 billion the funds available to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps). The budget would also reduce federal crop insurance subsidies and cut spending for conservation programs and foreign food aid.”


Trump’s budget cuts SNAP by nearly 30 percent, which disproportionately hurts children, the elderly, and low-income working families.


Center on Budget and Policy Priorities: “President Trump’s 2019 budget proposes to cut the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, formerly food stamps) by more than $213 billion over the next ten years — nearly a 30 percent cut — through radically restructuring how benefits are delivered, cutting eligibility for at least 4 million people, and reducing benefits for many others. The unemployed, the elderly, and low-income working families with children would bear the brunt of the cuts.  These proposals come on the heels of a tax law the President championed that will mainly benefit the wealthy and corporations and that’s expected to add $1.5 trillion to deficits over ten years.”


Trump’s budget cuts $47 billion from USDA farm programs, an action that farm groups warned was “unwarranted and unwise.”


The Fence Post: “The budget plan would save $260 billion over 10 years, including $213 billion from SNAP. Farm program cuts would total $47 billion over 10 years, including $25 billion from crop insurance and $13 billion from streamlining conservation payments.”


The Fence Post: “The Republican-leaning American Farm Bureau Federation said it opposes the reductions to USDA programs ‘because cuts of this magnitude in the current economic cycle are unwarranted and unwise.’ ‘Farmers and ranchers have always been concerned about high budget deficits and they have done more than their fair share over the years to reduce red ink,’ Farm Bureau said. ‘Making these cuts only adds to the financial pressures farmers and ranchers are currently facing. Net income is projected to fall to its lowest level in 12 years. These cutbacks do nothing to improve their already difficult conditions.’”


The Fence Post: “The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition, which represents small, environmentally minded farmers, said the Trump budget is ‘the most anti-rural, anti-farmer proposal the agriculture community has seen in years.’ ‘The proposals included in this budget request would undermine decades of investments in American agriculture,’ said Greg Fogel, NSAC policy director.”


Trump’s budget cuts federal crop insurance by one-third, even though Trump recently told the largest U.S. farm group that he supported crop insurance.


Successful Farming: “Five weeks after he told the largest U.S. farm group that he supports ‘a [farm] bill that includes crop insurance,’ President Trump asked Congress to slash the taxpayer-subsidized program by a third. The $26-billion cut over a decade was part of a fiscal 2019 budget package that called for the eradication of USDA’s first green payment program and for denial of crop subsidies and land stewardship payments to people with more than $500,000 in adjusted gross income.”


Trump’s budget cuts to agricultural conservation programs would make it harder for farmers to mitigate the effects of climate change and natural disasters.

The Fence Post: “On conservation, NSAC noted that the administration wants to eliminate the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, and said the proposal to eliminate those programs is ‘drastically out of touch with the needs of farmers and rural communities.’ ‘USDA's conservation programs are farmers' first line of defense against drought, flooding, and other natural disasters — events that are increasingly more frequent.’”


Trump’s budget eliminates programs that rural communities rely on to foster economic development, create jobs, and combat poverty.


Politico: “On the flip side, the White House again proposed eliminating USDA’s $100 million rural business and cooperative service, a $300 million rural economic development program and the $500 million grant component of the rural water and wastewater program.”  


High Plains Journal: “Other programs that would be eliminated include the Rural Business and Cooperative, Rural Water and Wastewater Grants, and Single Family Housing Direct Loan programs. Interest payments to electric and telecommunications utilities would also end.”


Trump’s budget guts funding for agricultural research programs.


The Fence Post: “NSAC said the budget request ‘guts’ agricultural research, cutting the Economic Research Service's budget by nearly 50 percent, the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education program by 23 percent, and the Agricultural Research Service by 14.5 percent, at a time when China and India are increasing their research investments.”