Duvall pointed out that when it was passed, the 2014 farm bill was estimated to contribute $23 billion to deficit reduction over 10 years.
The proposed budget “would gut federal crop insurance, one of the nation’s most important farm safety-net programs. It would drastically reshape important voluntary conservation programs and negatively impact consumer confidence in critical meat and poultry inspection,” Duvall warned.
He added the proposal would also threaten the viability of plant and animal security programs at the nation’s borders, undermine grain quality and market information systems, and stunt rural America’s economic growth by eliminating important utility programs and other rural development programs.
Duvall noted that these cuts are even more worrisome when considered in light of the current farm economy.
“Farm income is down substantially since Congress passed the last farm bill,” Duvall explained. “USDA cuts of this magnitude in the current economic cycle would be unwarranted and unwise. The AFBF will work with the House and Senate agriculture, appropriations and budget committees to protect programs that are critical in managing risks inherent to production agriculture, and maintain programs that are vital to rural communities.”
The American Soybean Association (ASA) voiced its strong opposition to the proposed cuts.
|Ron Moore, president of the ASA and a soybean farmer|
“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,” said Ron Moore, president of the ASA and a soybean farmer from Roseville, Ill.
The budget also threatens export promotion and foreign food assistance programs, Moore said. It would eliminate funding for USDA programs that help expand foreign markets: the Market Access Program (MAP) and the Foreign Market Development program (FMD). MAP and FMD leverage matching funds from industry to establish and expand markets for US agricultural products abroad.
The budget would cut nearly $6 billion from conservation programs, including the elimination of the Conservation Stewardship Program, which is the USDA’s largest conservation program with more than 70 million acres enrolled, and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program, Moore said.