The President’s FY19 budget would cut discretionary USDA funding by 28 percent, with significant cuts to international food aid, agricultural research, rural infrastructure, conservation technical assistance and farm and business loan and grant programs.

On February 12, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the details of the proposed budget for fiscal year 2019 (FY19) of the Trump administration, the second since the current President took office.  Overall, the budget proposes to spend $4.4 trillion in the upcoming fiscal year, generating a projected budget deficit of $984 billion, a 34 percent increase over the size of the deficit in FY17.  These figures do not include the cost of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which I described in a blog posted on February 20th, which will substantially increase the deficits for both FY18 and FY19.

In addition to the discretionary cuts to USDA funding described in last week’s blog, the President’s FY19 budget also proposed $254 billion in cuts over ten years to programs in the four main titles of the farm bill, nutrition, crop insurance, commodities, and conservation.

In addition to proposing to reduce USDA’s discretionary spending by several billion dollars in fiscal year 2019, the Trump administration also proposed to make significant cuts to a variety of key farm bill programs that spend money on a mandatory basis, primarily in the areas of nutrition assistance, commodity support, crop insurance, conservation, and trade promotion.   Congress is not obliged to adopt the Administration’s proposals on either discretionary or mandatory spending levels, and most budget experts believe that Congress is unlikely to seriously consider most of them.  However, they do reflect a willingness to make such cuts, and raise questions about whether the President will sign or veto a future farm bill if it comes to his desk with funding for such programs largely intact.

Here at My Rural America, our priority is to make the decision-making that goes on in Washington, DC personal to our readers.  With this inaugural website release, we begin by sharing the chart below.  It was first released by Congressional Quarterly’s Roll Call newspaper on Tuesday, February 13, 2018.  The data is based on the Trump Budget as calculated by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) which reports directly to the Office of the President.

In summary, the Trump/Republican Budget cuts State Department, Agriculture, Interior, HUD and Transportation the most.  For today, we choose to focus on Agriculture. There is a lot to worry about, including that the Budget:

Continue reading “President Trump’s Proposed Budget – Winners and Losers!”

Wheat harvest in Oregon by Jim Choate

Op-Ed, by Stephanie Mercier

 

Since the first farm bill, the Agricultural Adjustment Act, was enacted in 1933, there have been nine farm bills passed during the administrations of Republican presidents and nine farm bills enacted under Democratic presidents.  The upcoming farm bill, to replace the Agricultural Act of 2014 that expires on October 1, 2018, which is expected to be completed during the next few years during the Administration of President Donald Trump, would break that tie.

 

The new President has made few comments about farm bill policy during his first year in office, although he did promise to ‘support a farm bill that includes crop insurance’ in a recent speech to farmers attending the 2018 American Farm Bureau Federation convention in Nashville, TN.  

Continue reading “Presidents and U.S. Farm Bills – An Often-Uneasy Marriage”