In 2018, the US Department of Agriculture will receive a budget that is 21 percent lower than what it is allotted this year. In a budget blueprint forwarded by the president Donald Trump, published by the Office of Management and Budget on March 16, the department is to receive about $17.9 billion in funding, a $4.7 billion decrease compared to this year’s.
Deep Cuts for USDA Staff
It has been made clear which parts of the department’s services will be primarily affected from a recent announcement: agricultural research, programs that positively impact many small rural communities, and food aid for the poor.
This worried a lot of people not only those in agricultural research and implementation sectors but also direct USDA staffs. Part of the proposed changes is a cut in staffing including those in USDA service center agencies for the purpose of streamlined operations and encouraging private sector conservation planning.
The reduced staffing mirrors the cutting of personnel who manage services that will be eliminated in the proposed budget. Since major programs are to be discontinued should the blueprint earns the Congress’s nod, the corresponding personnel that implements them will no longer be needed.
Under the proposed 2018 budget, the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program is discontinued and it places restrictions on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Despite the sobering cuts, the secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue still vows to carry out the department’s objectives to its full extent.