President Donald Trump’s budget plans are reflected on “ America First”. This blueprint was released by the Office of Management and Budget early March of 2017. This will include a huge budget cut on the funding for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, amounting to $4.7 billion less from 2017’s allocation.
The Pres. Trump requested a budget of $17.9 billion for the USDA for the fiscal year 2018. This represents a 21 percent drop in USDA funding. The proposal includes a reduction in the workforce in service center agencies as a reflection of “reduced Rural Development workload”. This is to streamline county office operations and have private sector conservation planning.
Research and Food Aid also Get Cuts
Agricultural research may also experience major changes if the proposed 2018 budget gets approved by the congress. The proposed $360 million reflects a 26 percent decrease in funding for research activities.
Food for Peace, the United States’ program frontrunner of international food aid, will also be removed. This program has $1.7 billion allocated this year. One other international food aid called the McGovern-Dole Food for Education Program will also be completely eliminated.
The president, however, proposed a budget of $6.2 billion on the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. This program awards grants to states for food and nutrition programs and education to low-income pregnant, lactating and nursing mothers, and to infants and children.
Upon disclosing the proposed 2018 budget, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said, “”We’re going to do the best we can.”He added, “It’s my job to implement that plan.”
Farming Groups Express Concern
Some farm groups have voiced out their sentiments. The American Farm Bureau Federation said that “this budget fails agriculture and rural America” in one of their statements. The American Soybean Association and the National Corn Growers Association also shared similar thoughts.
This budget blueprint is not final, though. It has to pass Congress and be approved for it to be implemented. In a written statement, Ryan Wrasse, US Senator John Thune’s communications director said, “Congress, not the president, has the responsibility of drafting and passing a budget and subsequent appropriations bills.” The president’s proposed budget is merely a set of recommendations. It is something for the Congress to consider or reject.