President Donald Trump has issued his fiscal year 2018 federal budget blueprint, calling for a drastic reduction in spending on agriculture and rural related agencies and programs. Lamenting further cuts being proposed for agriculture, National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson issued the following statement:
“Family farmers and ranchers are currently enduring the worst farm economy in well over a decade and an inadequate safety net that is hamstrung by $23 billion in budget cuts. The last thing our members need right now is more cuts to agencies and programs that provide incredibly important work, especially in the midst of the current farm crisis. These cuts and the message they send to rural America are deeply disappointing.
“President Trump’s budget blueprint calls for a $4.7 billion cut to USDA, which equates to a 21 percent drop for programs that serve rural and farming communities across the U.S. This huge cut to discretionary spending will put rural development, food safety, conservation and research programs on the chopping block.
“The proposal recommends eliminating the Senior Community Service Employment Program that provides job training for older unemployed Americans. This program serves older Americans across the country, but is critical at addressing the challenges faced by older people in rural America.
“The President’s blueprint also provides for a $2.6 billion cut to EPA funding. This 31 percent drop guts the agency’s ability to provide very important environmental services and pesticide approval. It even limits the administration’s ability to rewrite or remove the unnecessary regulations that the President promised to address. Regulatory relief comes from having a system that works.
“To this point, the president has put the needs of rural America and agriculture on the backburner, and, in many cases, on the chopping block. We call on Congress to reject these budget cuts and adopt funding levels that ensure the success and vibrancy of farming communities and rural America.”