Trump budget includes 15 percent USDA cut

Trump budget includes 15 percent USDA cut
Mar 13, 2019

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USDA’s 2020 funding would sit around US$20.8 billion

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

President Trump’s budget proposal includes a significant cut to the USDA.

The president outlined US$20.8 billion of funding for the federal ag department in 2020. That represents a US$3.6 billion, or 15 percent decrease from 2019, the budget document says.

Spending reforms include reducing the average premium subsidy for crop insurance from 62 percent to 48 percent. The budget also proposes eliminating a payment for peanut producers and limiting the eligibility for commodity subsidies to one manager per farm.

Overall, the president looks to slash billions of dollars from USDA programs, including US$26 billion from crop insurance, said Collin Peterson, chairman of the House Agriculture Committee.

“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,” he said in a statement Monday. “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.”

The American Soybean Association and National Association of Wheat Growers released statements outlining concerns over President Trump’s budget proposal.

Both groups are concerned that President Trump’s proposals go against the work both political parties put into passing a Farm Bill.

Though the budget cuts seem drastic, they may not all come to fruition.

Appropriation bills are the determining factors of where federal funding goes, said Marin Bozic, an ag policy specialist with the University of Minnesota.

“Unlike other countries where a budget is a binding document that allocates funds for the next fiscal year, in the United States, it’s more of a political platform,” he told Farms.com. “Congress has the authority over the actual allocation of money, which is done through an appropriation bill. But the budget does offer insight into where the administration wants to go.”

Not every part of the USDA would experience spending cuts.

One ag-related area the president requested a funding increase is the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), a competitive ag grants program.

“The Budget requests (US)$500 million for AFRI, an increase of (US)$100 million above the 2018 enacted level…”

Other federal departments that could see funding cuts include the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Education.

The departments of defense, commerce, homeland security and veterans affairs received budget increases. 

Washington Post photo

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