Farm advocacy groups are not pleased with President Donald Trump’s new budget proposal for 2018, which cuts the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) budget by $240 billion over the next decade.
“I don’t think there’s any reason to try to sugar coat this,” Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, told reporters Tuesday. “I’ve communicated with our team at USDA and just said ‘look, when times are tough we just dig down and do more’ — and that’s what we will do here.”
Trump’s budget proposal cuts the USDA’s budget and suggests curbing payments on crop insurance, conservation assistance and rural development programs which are governed by farm appropriations bills.
“This budget seems to really go after the people that got the president elected,” said Zack Clark, government relations director at the National Farmers Union.
The American Soybean Association said it was “clear that this budget was written without input from farmers who would be severely affected.”
Trump’s budget faces challenges in Congress, and Perdue would not even advocate for the budget in testimony before the House Committee on Appropriations Wednesday.
“The legislative proposal going forward is obviously something you and all of your members in Congress will deal with and have your stamp on that,” Perdue said of proposals to reduce food stamp spending, also called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). (RELATED: Here’s How Trump Would Cut Billions From Food Stamps Program)
Perdue, who the Senate confirmed April 24, may not have had a lot of input into the budget draft, which the Office of Management and Budget has been developing for the past several months.
However, these budget cuts do not come as surprises, as the president promised before his election that he would realign government spending, attempt to eliminate duplication or redundancy, and see that all government agencies are efficiently delivering services to American taxpayers.
“Clearly, this budget fails agriculture and rural America,” American Farm Bureau Foundation president Zippy Duvall said in a statement.
“Farm income is down substantially since Congress passed the last farm bill. USDA cuts of this magnitude in the current economic cycle would be unwarranted and unwise,” Duvall said.
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