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Budget Proposal Slices Ag Programs

In a new budget proposal released, President Trump calls for a 21 percent, $4.7 billion cut to specific USDA programs. Over ten years, it would cut the crop insurance program by nearly $29 billion.

The budget is drawing criticism from lawmakers and industry groups.

Crop insurers say the cuts to insurance would make it more difficult for farmers to bounce back.

In response to the budget, Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley spoke in support of crop insurance, "It's important to remember that while the President proposes, Congress disposes. And ultimately Congress will write the budget. Not the President. Federal crop insurance is a premium risk management tool for farmers. It's the one thing that I hear about in the farm bill that people feel very strongly about."

Senate Ag Committee Chairs Michael Conaway and Pat Roberts say they will fight for a strong farm safety net in the budget and next farm bill.

Other administration proposals include refocusing in-house USDA research dollars to priority areas like farm productivity, ending what they call a duplicative water and wastewater loans and grant program, reducing the USDA Service Center Agency staffing, as well as funds for USDA statistical capabilities.

President of the American Farm Bureau Zippy Duvall disputed the budget proposal, saying it doesn't just hurt farmers but rural America. It would cut the whole USDA budget by $228 billion over ten years.

Duvall tweeted, "The proposed budget fails rural America. We have done more than our fair share & we need a budget that works for ag."