Mar 17, 2011
Congressional Budget Cuts Target Farm Programs
The Kansas Rural Center joined 154 grassroots organizations sending a letter to the U.S. Senate in opposition to a government funding bill that would cut more than $60 billion from the federal budget for the last half of fiscal year 2011. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) circulated the letter.
The groups argue that the bill (H.R.1) unfairly singles out programs that serve sustainable, organic, beginning and minority farmers, and that the disproportionate cuts to agriculture and rural America are reckless and unjust.
The bill slashes a disproportional amount from the agriculture budget (22%) relative to other budget functions, and the House is also proposing deep cuts to conservation and renewable energy funding provided by the 2008 Farm Bill. A combined $500 million would be cut under the House bill from the Conservation Stewardship Program the Environmental Quality Incentives Program, Wetland Reserve Program (WRP), and the Biomass Crop Assistance Program (BCAP).
However, no cuts were proposed for agriculture’s two biggest line items--commodity payments and crop insurance-- while conservation, renew-able energy, loans for beginning and minority farmers, and feeding programs for low income families took big hits.
The letter urged the Senate to reject this short-term approach that disproportionately targets a particular piece of government spending and threatens to reverse economic recovery in rural communities. For more up to date information on agricultural budget cuts and farm bill programs, go to NSAC’s website at: www.sustainableagriculturecoalition.org.