Trump’s budget proposal honors his campaign
On March 16, President Donald Trump’s first budget proposal was released, revealing a $1.15 trillion budget. It calls for deep spending cuts, just like he claimed he was going to do when he was running for office. Like with many budget proposals, there are both winners and losers. While the military receives a budget boost of $54 billion, 12 departments take a hit. And surprisingly the agricultural department is among the losers with a projected cut of 21 percent.
So what does the proposed cut mean for the agriculture industry? The budget proposal, “Safeguards the Nation’s supply of meat, poultry, and egg products by fully funding the Food Safety and Inspection Services.” This means, there won’t be much change in this part of the industry. It is also important to note that farming and ranching subsidies will also be protected under the president’s first proposal.
President Trump’s recommended proposal also includes a $2.4 billion budget, which will be dedicated to “fully funding wildland fire preparedness and suppression activities.” There will be resources set aside that are necessary to protect the life and property in unexpected emergencies.
However, President Trump’s proposal also suggests reduced federal funds in the National Forest System and Grassland Areas. For example, he requests funds go toward maintaining existing forests and grasslands rather than seeking “major new federal land acquisitions.” One of the cases where this may affect the independent ranchers and farmers would be if they were expecting to participate more in Conservation Reserve Programs (CRP).
This is a program that allows ranchers and farmers to receive money from the government, in exchange for an agreement to not produce crops or graze livestock on environmentally sensitive land for 10-15 years. All prior agreements under this program will still exist, there just won’t be any additions for the time being. The idea to freeze programs like this isn’t going to make a large impact on the industry. Those ranches/farms that were planning on investing their land in a CRP for their primary income for the year, probably wouldn’t make it in the long run anyway; the farm bill proposal is still being discussed.
President Trump proposes the agriculture department spend time and money focusing on important research issues such as: “increasing farming productivity, sustaining natural resources, including those within rural communities, and addressing food safety and nutrition priorities,” rather than employing individuals whose jobs really aren’t necessary. For example, USDA pays analytical people to call ranchers and farmers asking about their operations (how many acres, head of cattle, etc.) when all of the answers to these questions can be found at county extension offices for everybody to access, making this job unnecessary.
President Trump’s proposal also eliminates the duplicative Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant Program, this alone saves the government $498 million from 2017. The reason President Trump is eliminating this program is because rural communities can be taken care of through private sectors and other federal investments.
According to the blueprint, President Trump is only doing what he said he was going to do. He’s streamlining, eliminating duplicative, or lower-priority programs in the USDA, giving more power to private sectors allowing them to prosper, and saving the nation money all at the same time.