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Posted on May 24, 2017 in Featured, News Releases

TFB opposes proposed budget cuts to agriculture programs

TFB opposes proposed budget cuts to agriculture programs

(WACO, Texas)– Texas Farm Bureau (TFB) is urging Congress to reconsider drastic cuts to agricultural and rural programs outlined in the president’s 2018 budget proposal.

TFB President Russell Boening outlined the organization’s concerns in letters to the Texas Congressional Delegation this week.

“The proposed budget includes major cuts to vital farm bill programs that help American farmers and ranchers survive whatever Mother Nature and the markets throw at them,” Boening, a South Texas farmer and rancher, said. “Without these programs, agriculture could face a considerable setback. Millions of Americans would be impacted—from farm workers to grocery store clerks and everyone in between.”

The fiscal year 2018 proposed budget, “A New Foundation for American Greatness,” cuts farm bill spending by $228 billion over 10 years.

About $38 billion of that would come from farm programs.

“Agriculture is once again being targeted for cuts. No other sector has faced the budget ax as often or as severely,” Boening said. “We support a conservative budget, but cuts like these are taking a heavy toll on the industry tasked with feeding American families. It’s time the cuts come from somewhere else.”

When the 2014 Farm Bill was passed, it was estimated to cut the federal deficit by $23 billion over 10 years. Agriculture was the only sector to voluntarily offer savings.

Boening said it's not reasonable to expect American farmers to compete against the heavily subsidized agriculture of other nations with insufficient risk protection.

The budget calls for nearly 30 percent, or $193 billion, in cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and $5.7 billion to conservation programs over 10 years.

The crop insurance program would be cut by $28.5 billion, and Title 1 commodity supports, like Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage, face cuts of nearly $9 billion.

The budget also calls for reducing the adjusted gross income eligibility cap from $900,000 to $500,000.

“With agriculture and rural economies struggling and net farm income down 46 percent from three years ago, it would be perilous to make these ill-considered cuts,” Boening said. “We urge Congress not to pass this proposed budget. It would do significant harm to the farm economy and Texas as a whole.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture would also lose more than 5,200 positions nationwide under the budget.

The president’s budget was delivered to Congress earlier this week. Congress will be tasked with writing and passing a budget later this year.

Texans are encouraged to write their congressmen and senators urging them to reduce the cuts to the farm bill and USDA budget in support of American agriculture.