Budget Deficit May Cause Cuts

The growing federal budget deficit might force spending cuts in farm and agricultural services and programs. In his recent visit to Omaha, Nebraska, Tom Vilsack, Secretary of Agriculture, hinted that farming programs might face an uphill battle to retain federal funding.

In his recent Omaha trip, Vilsack lauded the Conservation Reserve Program and announced a renewal of about 4 million acres of reserve land. Vilsack also praised the Wildlife Incentive Habitat Program, Environmental Quality Incentive Program, and the Conservation Security Program. Vilsack noted that all of these programs not only help farmers, but play an important role in protecting wildlife and the environment.

However, Vilsack also stressed the growing deficit and concerns over spending while hinting that federal farm spending could very well shrink in the near future. “Even in tough budget times, programs like this can make the case” for funding, Vilsack said. “We’re thinking creatively. We’ll have to, because the resources obviously will be constrained.” While Vilsack did not mention specific programs that are on the chopping block, his comments, along with the proposals of Obama’s deficit reduction committee, have raised concerns that valuable and important farming programs might see their budgets reduced.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer