In response to the rapid, and relatively secretive, agricultural budget reductions, advocacy groups across the country are voicing their concern at their lack of input regarding the federal farm subsidy reductions. As a part of the fallout from the debt ceiling debate last summer, a Congressional supercommittee, made of an equal number of Republicans and Democrats, was created to cut about $2 trillion from the federal budget.
A significant portion of that budget reduction, it appears, will come from farm programs and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The current proposal being considered by the supercommittee is an agricultural reduction of about $23 billion, much of it coming from the elimination of direct farm payments.
Environmental groups are unhappy at the lack of conservation funding. They are concerned that the elimination of direct subsidies, an important compliance tool for conservation programs, without other compliance measures, will lead to a decline in soil and environmental conservation.
Members of the American Farm Bureau, on the other hand, are willing to entertain the loss of direct payments, but are concerned about the speed of the reductions and their overall lack of input. The speed and closed door nature of these discussions all but guarantees that farm groups will have limited influence on the final version of the bill.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer