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Administration’s Inaugural Budget Request Guts Food and Agriculture Programs
President Trump’s budget proposal calls for draconian cuts to food and agricultural programs on a historically unprecedented scale. Adoption of the “skinny” budget – so called because it is just a few brief pages of bullet points, rather than the traditionally detailed budget proposal put forth by the President – would result in massive layoffs at USDA and dramatic reductions in federal investments in agricultural research, rural job growth and infrastructure, and farm loans and conservation. Luckily, it is unlikely that Congress will go along with much of what the President is proposing.
Accounting for the programs that are being left intact as well as the programs that are being zeroed out, USDA would be left with roughly 50 percent of its current budget for all other discretionary programs funded through the annual agricultural appropriations bill. This means a proposed 50 percent cut to most agricultural research programs, farmer outreach and extension programs, agricultural marketing and farm credit programs, enforcement of grain standards and livestock competition rules, international food aid, and the many smaller nutrition programs that receive annual appropriations. It would also mean a dramatic cut in USDA staff and the most significant loss of resources for farmers, ranchers, and rural communities in decades.
As mentioned above, the President’s budget request is just the first step in the FY 2018 funding process. Moreover, the specific details of his FY 2018 budget request are still unknown. The request release today is a very bare bones version of a much more detailed request that will be released later this spring, rumored to likely appear sometime in May, well past the normal timing for the budget request to get to Congress. At that point, congressional appropriators will take the budget request into consideration – along with the hundreds and possibly thousands of additional proposals they receive from members of Congress and stakeholders – and will draft the actual USDA funding bills for FY 2018.
Read the full text at NSAC website.