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US 2020 budget proposes deep cuts to USDA and farmer subsidies

12 March 2019

The proposed budget will cut the USDA budget by 15 percent, with crop insurance programmes being hit the hardest.

According to Reuters, President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget proposed a 15 percent cut for the US Department of Agriculture, calling its subsidies to farmers “overly generous” at a time when they are going through the worst crisis in decades because of depressed commodity prices and Trump’s trade tariffs.

The Republican president’s budget requested $20.8 billion for the USDA, a cut of $3.6 billion, or 15 percent, from the 2019 estimate, according to the proposed budget text. It proposes reducing premium subsidies for crop insurance, limiting the number of producers who would be eligible and tightening commodity payment limits.

“The budget also proposes that USDA responsibly and efficiently use taxpayer resources by making targeted reforms to duplicative programs and overly generous subsidy programs,” the document said.

Democrats slammed the move as “short-sighted,” while the crop insurance industry, which will see the deepest cut, said it would undermine a key financial safety net for farmers at a time when they need it the most.

Trump’s budget is expected to be rejected by Congress, where Democrats control the House of Representatives.

The American rural heartland helped carry Trump to victory in 2016 and remains largely supportive of his hard line on trade, but is urgently calling for a deal with China to end the trade dispute with that country.

“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,” Collin Peterson, Democratic chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, said in a statement. He added that the cuts to crop insurance totalled $26 billion.

Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow said the budget cut would jeopardise the USDA’s ability to implement the farm bill at a time when farmers are struggling with economic instability and trade uncertainty.

Read more about this story here.





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