March 21, 2019
This week, the Trump Administration released the details of the President’s 2020 Budget. The budget reiterates the Administration’s ongoing efforts to reduce the Nation’s debt by proposing over $2.7 trillion in spending reductions. The 2020 Budget requests $20.8 billion for USDA, a $3.6 billion or 15 percent decrease from Fiscal Year 2019. The significant budget cuts and program eliminations across all agencies proposed are expected to ultimately be rejected by Congress.
The budget provides funding for agricultural and food programs and services to support animal and plant health programs, agricultural trade, rural development, and nutrition programs. The legislation provides funding for the Animal Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to support programs that help eradicate plant and animal diseases and the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) to support research programs to mitigate devastating diseases and increase farm production. The budget requests $985 million in discretionary funding for APHIS and $1.275 billion for AMS.
House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) quickly pointed out the Budget’s shortcomings on addressing the economic crisis in the farm economy. “The President’s budget request is a road map for how to make things worse for farmers, ranchers and those who live in rural communities: $26 billion in cuts to crop insurance; $9 billion in cuts to successful, voluntary conservation programs; $5 billion in cuts to Section 32 programs that help purchase commodities in times of need; $8 billion in cuts to programs that help ranchers recover grazing lands hurt by drought; yet another attempt to cut SNAP; elimination of the Rural Energy for America and Rural Economic Development programs and billions in other cuts,” Chairman Peterson stated.
House Agriculture Committee Ranking Member Mike Conaway (R-TX) praised the budget’s commitment to veterans, the military, and the safety of our nation. On agriculture, Rep. Conaway pointed out that the farm safety net accounts for less than a quarter of one percent of the national budget. “We must keep our promise to farmers and ranchers and rural America made under the five-year farm bill, and I fully expect the president to be onboard,” Conaway stated.
The Administration contends that the 2020 Budget supports several of USDA’s core mission areas: continued investment in rural America by supporting the Secretary’s e-Connectivity Pilot Program and funding to maintain and modernize rural utilities, proposes improving crop insurance and commodity programs that would reduce the average premium for subsidy crops, includes plans to increase transparency of programs that allow USDA to purchase commodities to stabilize market prices, proposes significant investment in agricultural research by increasing funding for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) and investing in modernizing Agricultural Research Service Facilities, and includes investment in forest management practices that will work to prevent disastrous wildfires.
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