Trump budget proposes massive cut to crop insurance

"These proposed budget cuts would hurt farmers' ability to manage risk, grow their revenues, and farm more sustainably", said the National Corn Growers Association in a statement.

The proposed budget would eliminate $5.75 billion from conservation, cut another $3 billion by eliminating a number of small USDA programs and cut $477 million from the Rural Economic Development Program, a rural-oriented program created to promote job growth and higher incomes for rural America. As commodity prices decline and farmers' budgets tighten, an increase in the cost of crop insurance is only more likely to result in less participation and higher premiums for all farmers. It proposes new restrictions on government-subsidized crop insurance, a program that is particular favorite of grain farmers.

The White House's proposed budget also would cut almost $9 billion from Title I commodity supports, including the Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC) and Price Loss Coverage (PLC) programs, by reducing the adjusted gross income (AGI) eligibility cap from $900,000 to $500,000.

Reducing conservation program funding by $5.8 billion over the 2018-2027 period.

Among the concerns were proposed changes to the federal crop insurance program.

"Clearly, this budget fails agriculture and rural America", Zippy Duvall, president of the American Farm Bureau Foundation, said in a statement.

How will all of the proposed changes in the USDA program funding be received by Congress? "Such cuts would leave farmers, ranchers, and consumers without an effective safety net, and would make passing a new Farm Bill nearly certainly impossible", National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson said.

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"We're going to do the best we can", said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue.

Several crop insurance groups - including the American Association of Crop Insurers, Crop Insurance and Reinsurance Bureau, Crop Insurance Professionals Association, Independent Insurance Agents and Brokers of America, National Association of Professional Insurance Agents and National Crop Insurance Services - issued a joint statement regarding the cuts to crop insurance premiums.

Ag groups and Congressional lawmakers warned the budget would put rural communities at risk, citing the need to protect the farm safety net as producers face a 50 percent decline in farm revenue since 2013. However, we also know that agriculture has done its fair share to help reduce the deficit. "Going back to the early 1980s, agriculture often has been targeted to generate budget savings, from the reconciliation bills in the late 1980s and 1990s to farm bill reforms as recently as 2014", he said. It would drastically reshape important voluntary conservation programs and negatively impact consumer confidence in critical meat and poultry inspection.

Of course, farm leaders are quick to point out administration proposals of this type are not law, but simply the first step in the process.

"This budget seems to really go after the people that got the president elected", said Zack Clark, director of government relations for the National Farmers Union.

Projected to be eliminated in the budget are the Rural Business-Cooperative Service, which offers programs to support business development and job training opportunities for rural residents, the Water and Wastewater Direct Loan and grant program, and the Single Family Housing Direct Loan program.

Larew says if President Trump wants to build the economy, the cuts he's proposing won't help.


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