Last week Congressional leaders and President Barack Obama agreed to increase the debt ceiling, after weeks of contentious debate, and cut spending by over $1 trillion over the next ten years. While the agricultural sector did not face any immediate cuts as a part of the debt ceiling deal, farm spending is a big target for Congressional budget hawks looking to cut federal spending.
According to Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, Congressional leaders, as part of an agreement to cut $1.5 trillion from the federal budget over the next ten years, have made agricultural cuts a top priority. According to Senator Klobuchar, current Senate proposals for debt reduction include $12 billion in agricultural cuts, while proposals originating in the House of Representatives could reach as high as $48 billion ($30 billion in cuts to agricultural programs and $12 billion to cuts in conservation programs).
Other potential agricultural cuts could take place if Congressional leaders fail to agree to deficit reduction. According to the debt ceiling deal, if Congress fails to reduce federal spending, automatic cuts will go into effect (cuts that are fifty percent from defense spending and fifty percent from social spending).
While it is unclear how much of the social spending would come from the agricultural sector, given Congress’ recent propensity to slash farm spending, it seems likely that the automatic spending cuts could cut agricultural funding quite deeply.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer