“If Congress were to enact the Administration’s budget proposal as written, USDA would be subject to a discretionary funding cut of 21 percent ($47 billion over 10 years). If Trump’s proposed farm bill policy changes are added in, another $228 billion would be cut from USDA programs over the next 10 years.
National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition’s (NSAC) and our allies in the anti-hunger and nutrition communities strongly oppose the President’s proposal to cut $193 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program over the next ten years. SNAP helps connect millions of children and their families with healthy foods every year, and also opens market opportunities to local and regional farmers. The majority of the “savings” from the SNAP cut ($116 billion) would be made by block-granting the program to states, effectively putting them on the hook to match as much as 25 percent of the program’s costs by 2023. Putting additional restrictions on the eligibility of able-bodied adults would make up $49 billion of the total cut, and a new application fee on retailers who participate in the program would represent $252 million of the cut. This fee would include not only brick and mortar retailers, but also farmers markets interested in expanding access to healthy, local foods for SNAP families.
Rural development programs take the brunt of the cuts in the budget, including a 26 percent reduction in overall funding. The entire discretionary budget for the Rural Business and Cooperative Service – $95 million – is proposed to be eliminated. The budget also requests several policy changes to the farm bill that would eliminate a host of Rural Development programs, including the Rural Energy for America Program, Rural Economic Development Program, and elements of the Rural Utilities Service. Combined, these eliminations would reduce investment in rural America by at least $2 billion. The budget includes 2018 Farm Bill proposals to eliminate two critical local and regional food system support programs, the Specialty Crop Block Grant program (SCBG), and the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program (FMLFPP). FMLFPP supports the expansion of local and regional food markets by helping farmers connect with consumer and overcome barrier to expanding local and regional markets. According to the President’s proposal, Guaranteed Farm Ownership loans would be cut by $250 million, Direct Operating Loans would be cut by $225 million, and Guaranteed Operation Loans would be cut by $566 million. The budget also includes deep cuts to USDA’s research programs, including a 30 percent cut to the Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) program. The proposal also slices 7 percent from the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI).”
The ultimate fate of the FY 2018 proposed cuts and eliminations will rest with the Congressional Appropriations Committees as they fashion their 2018 spending bills later this year.”