Peterson blasts big cuts proposed for farm programs

Forum News Service
Farm Forum

WASHINGTON, D.C. — House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., on Feb. 11 sharply criticized the White House’s proposed budget request for fiscal year 2021.

The budget includes a call for an 8.2% reduction in discretionary spending at the U.S. Department of Agriculture when the department’s field operations are significantly understaffed, as well as proposing billions in mandatory cuts to crop insurance, conservation spending, disaster assistance, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and other programs, he said in a news release.

“This is what happens when ideologues decide to cut programs just for the sake of cutting. We will make sure that the farm bill isn’t cut during this year’s budget process. What’s worse is the President is proposing all these cuts without any attempt to balance the budget,” Peterson said.

“The past year has brought serious economic damage to farmers and rural communities, yet the administration is proposing to cut billions in programs that they count on in many different ways. This budget also continues to short-change the funding needed to provide adequate service to USDA customers in field offices.”

The White House has suggested cutting crop insurance by almost $25 billion and conservation programs by more than $9 billion. It also proposes to eliminate assistance for livestock producers in drought-stricken areas and end the ability to provide U.S. commodities for food aid, Peterson said.

The proposed budget eliminates the Rural Energy for America Program and several important rural economic development programs. Finally, the proposed changes to the SNAP program reduce SNAP spending by $182 billion.

Rep. Collin Peterson, D.-Minn., speaks to The Forum Editorial Board on Jan. 23, 2018 in Fargo.