On Wednesday, a 10 percent cut in farm support programs was proposed by an 18-member bipartisan commission intent on balancing the federal budget. A vote by the commission on the overall plan, which encompasses the entire federal government, is expected Friday.
A net cut of $10 billion ($1.25 billion per year) through 2020 in Agriculture Department spending was proposed, with the reductions coming mainly from crop subsidy and land stewardship programs such as the Conservation Stewardship Program and the Environmental Quality Incentives Program. The Conservation Reserve Program was not singled out for a funding cut.
The commission also suggested ‘reductions in direct payments when prices exceed the cost of production or other reductions in subsidies’ along with smaller funding for an export promotion program.
The agriculture provisions are highlighted on page 40 of the report by the commission.
Mary Kay Thatcher, of American Farm Bureau Federation, said in an interview with the Des Moines Register that the proposed cut would amount to about 6 percent in all agricultural spending when crop insurance is included.
“I expect we would find ag could live with a 6 percent reduction in spending if everybody else is living with a 6 percent reduction. However, we will NOT be willing to give more than our fair share.”