Group blasts House subsidy cuts
Cuts to U.S. agriculture subsidies in the 2013 budget proposal unveiled Tuesday by Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wisc.) go too deep and prevent lawmakers from crafting a long-term safety net for farmers in the next farm bill, the National Farmers Union said.
A strong farm economy buoyed by high crop and livestock commodity prices means government should cut back on support for the sector, according to the budget proposal. The bill seeks to cut $8.2 billion in spending on payments to farmers and subsidized farm insurance in the 2013 fiscal year.
"Compared to an overall economy that is recovering slowly, the American agricultural sector is improving dramatically," according to the budget proposal. "Taxpayers should not finance payments for a business sector that is more than capable of thriving on its own."
But strong prices won't last forever, the National Farmers Union said, so assistance programs need to be in place.
"Once again, we see that Congress is attempting to balance the budget on the backs of rural America," NFU President Roger Johnson said. "The proposed cuts to agriculture spending would severely constrain the ability of the next farm bill to provide policy that protects against yield losses and when markets collapse."
The current 2008 farm bill--a five-year blueprint for agriculture policy--expires this year and the Senate and House of Representatives are working to craft a new one.
But proposed cuts in the Ryan bill, said House Agriculture Committee ranking member Collin Peterson (D., Minn.), "all but guarantees there will be no farm bill this year."
-By Bill Tomson, Dow Jones Newswires; 202-646-0088; firstname.lastname@example.org
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
March 20, 2012 17:23 ET (21:23 GMT)
DJ US Farm Group Angered Over Proposed Subidy Cuts In House Bill->copyright