Earlier this week, the House Appropriation Committee passed agricultural appropriations bill calling for $125.5 billion in spending, $7 billion less than what President Barack Obama has called for. In the midst of a severe economic recession and fears of deficit spending, the current tenor of budget talks in Washington has revolved around deficit reduction. Even agricultural officials like Tom Vilsack have acknowledged the need for spending cuts.
However, proposed spending cuts go far beyond the modest cuts advocated by Vilsack and other politicians. Prominent in the most recent appropriations bill are deep cuts to farm protections and safety nets. The bill reduces farm insurance outlays by 59% and the bill severely reduces conservation programs. In addition, the bill seeks to undo much of the work of the Obama administration regarding nutrition programs and efforts to combat childhood obesity. In addition, the appropriations bill cuts crop research funding by over $300 million.
Politicians from agricultural states are already scrambling to strip these provisions out of the bill. Iowa’s three Democratic Congressmen are vocally criticizing the removal of crop research funding, particularly the cuts to ethanol research (particularly in light of continued subsidies to oil companies). Others have criticized the reduction of crop removal, pointing out the need for safety nets in agricultural production.
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer