Farm Groups Against USDA Budget Cuts

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President Trump has proposed a new fiscal 2018 budget for the Department of Agriculture, prompting criticism from the biggest general farm groups in the U.S.

The American Farm Bureau and National Farmers Union say it's the wrong time to take out a fifth of the USDA discretionary budget, a $4.7 billion cut.

But with the worst farm economy in a decade and cuts in previous farm bills, the Farm Bureau says it's unlikely to see a similar measure in Congress.

The National Farmers Union president Roger Johnson says its a good thing it's Congress that writes the budget, not the president, "There's no way you can roll this level of cuts through USDA without doing serious damage to the programs that support farmers and ranchers."

The Farm Bureau says the budget cuts staff by an unknown number at service centers, which might include the FSA, Extension Service offices, as well as rural development centers.

In a letter this week, the American Farm Bureau and National Farmers Union call for more money in the 2018 farm bill.

They write, "We were the only sector willing to contribute to deficit reduction when the farm economy was healthy. Now we look to Congress to provide the resources necessary to help America's farmers and ranchers through this very difficult period."

The letter asks the Congressional Budget and Appropriations Committee leaders to follow a budget and estimates letter from the House Agriculture committee..

The groups want a stronger farm safety net and more resources.