Ag Groups Respond to White House Budget Cuts

Dan Economy, Funding, Industry News Release

President Trump’s Budget is an Assault on the Farm Safety Net and Rural Communities, National Farmers Union Says

budgetPresident Donald J. Trump issued the detailed fiscal year 2018 federal budget proposal, recommending drastic cuts to agricultural and rural related agencies and programs. The proposal would cut Farm Bill programs by nearly $230 billion and slash the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) annual budget by 21 percent.

In response to the proposal, National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson issued the following statement:

“The President’s proposed budget is an assault on the programs and personnel that provide vital services, research, and a safety net for America’s family farmers, rural residents, and consumers. It is deeply disappointing that the President would propose such cuts, especially in the midst of a farm crisis that has family farmers and ranchers enduring a drastic, four-year slide in farm prices and a 50 percent drop in net farm income.

“The proposal slashes crop insurance by $29 billion, conservation programs by $6 billion, and SNAP by $191 billion, in addition to $3 billion in cuts to other farm programs. Such cuts would leave farmers, ranchers, and consumers without an effective safety net, and would make passing a new Farm Bill almost certainly impossible.

“The proposal also continues the $4.7 billion cut to USDA that was proposed by the Administration in March. This huge cut to discretionary spending would put rural development, conservation and research programs on the chopping block.

“In addition to cuts to farm and rural programs, the president’s proposal stands to worsen access to health care for rural residents. The proposed $800 billion cut to Medicaid would disproportionately impact rural residents who enroll in the program at a higher rate than their urban counterparts.

“NFU calls on Congress to reject these budget cuts and adopt funding levels that ensure the success and vibrancy of farming communities and rural America.”

USW Dismayed by Budget Proposal to Eliminate Trade Development Programs

U.S. Wheat Associates is very disappointed that the Administration’s proposed FY 2018 budget eliminates funding for the USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service Market Access Program (MAP) and Foreign Market Development (FMD) program and severely cuts funding for food aid programs. These cuts and other proposed cuts to the farm safety net would be devastating to wheat farmers who are already facing severely challenging economic conditions.

“These are the wrong proposals at the wrong time for the wheat farmers we represent,” said USW President Alan Tracy. “Agriculture is truly a global industry and export demand determines the prices U.S. wheat farmers receive. Without funding from MAP and FMD, we would not be able to continue the training, technical assistance, and service that is needed to promote this incredibly complex food crop. Our competitors would swoop in to take those markets and the potential effect on wheat prices is obvious.”

In addition, a major econometric study led by Texas A&M agricultural economists in 2016 on the effectiveness of MAP and FMD showed that eliminating these programs would result in an annual average loss of $14.7 billion in export value, which would hurt almost every farmer in the country.

“It is very short-sighted to cut out programs that are vital to the health of the entire U.S. agricultural economy,” said Jason Scott, USW Chairman and a wheat farmer from Easton, Md. “Farmers, livestock producers, small businesses and the U.S. government have seen an amazing return on the investment in these highly successful programs. Our farmer leaders agree with the National Association of Wheat Growers President David Schemm who believes MAP and FMD merit an increase in federal funding, not elimination as proposed in this budget.”

In addition, time-honored U.S. food aid programs have been engines of peace, food security and local capacity building in countless countries around the world. Wheat makes up 40 percent of all in-kind food aid and because almost all food aid recipients are wheat-import dependent, particularly in Africa, wheat donations do not distort local markets. It is not a good time to diminish our ability to promote better lives around the world.”

For more information about MAP, FMD and the essential role they play in building a more productive agricultural economy, please visit www.AgExportsCount.org.

USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of U.S. wheat producers and their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 18 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit our website at www.uswheat.org.

USW’s mission is to “develop, maintain, and expand international markets to enhance the profitability of U.S. wheat producers and their customers.” USW activities in more than 100 countries are made possible through producer checkoff dollars managed by 18 state wheat commissions and cost-share funding provided by USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service. For more information, visit our website at www.uswheat.org.