Vilsack Outlines Budget Cuts

At the annual Farm Bureau Federation meeting in Honolulu, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack announced about $150 million in U.S. Department of Agriculture budget cuts.

According to Vilsack’s message, the cuts are necessary because of the roughly $3 billion in discretionary budget cuts the USDA has experienced since 2010. “Over the course of the last year or so we have obviously been challenged with reduced budgets,” Vilsack said.

Vilsack portrayed the cuts as a way to streamline USDA programs. In addition to closing over 100 Farm Service Agency offices, the department will shut down a variety of support centers, including a number of farm research centers across the country.

According to Vilsack, “It’s reasonable to assume we’re all going to be faced with this because we have to get our fiscal house in order. My thought was I would rather be proactive. I would rather take the time to do it comprehensively than be forced to do it in a short period of time when your options are very limited.”

Vilsack also pointed out that the $150 million saved in budget cuts is not related to the $23 to $40 billion in cuts expected when Congress gets back in session.

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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer