Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton DTN Ag Policy Editor

Tuesday 02/19/13

Farm Groups Unite Against Senate Budget Proposal

Fourteen farm organizations signed onto a letter Tuesday to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid raising their concerns over the Senate proposal that would cut $27.5 billion from farm programs over the next decade through elimination of direct payments.

"Your proposed legislation seriously undermines efforts to advance much needed reforms to meet the long term risk management needs of America's family farmers," the groups said. "While our grower members are prepared to contribute their fair share of cuts to help reduce our nation's unsustainable deficits, we cannot support a doubling of reductions in the commodity title funding."

Reid and Senate Democrats last week proposed an offset to the sequester cuts set to take place starting March 1. On Tuesday, USDA released a report citing thousands of job furloughs and other affects if the sequester cuts go into effect. USDA cited that the department would face just under $2 billion in cuts this year to a broad array of programs.

The farm groups stated they understood the bill proposed by Reid and other Senate Democrats would restore funding to 24 programs at USDA, including disaster aid for livestock, fruit and vegetable producers. Still, the groups want budget decisions on farm programs should be made by the Senate Agriculture Committee.

The agricultural groups also questioned the long-term benefits of the budget cuts, noting the bill would only delay the sequestration cuts until next January. The groups also cited that under the Senate's proposal only agriculture and defense would face budget cuts.

The letter noted farmers would be forced to take 10 years of cuts to delay the sequester for less than a year. "That is hard to justify," the ag groups stated. "We also believe it is simply unfair to assign the burden of cost reductions to only two areas of government spending -- agriculture and defense."

Groups signing the letter include the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Soybean Association, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Barley Growers, National Cotton Council, National Council of Farmer Cooperatives, National Sorghum Producers, Southern Peanut Farmers Federation, U.S. Canola Association, U.S. Dry Bean Council, USA Dry Pea & Lentil Council, USA Rice Federation and the Western Peanut Growers Association.

A full copy of the letter can be found at http://dld.bz/…

I can be found on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN

Posted at 7:19PM CST 02/19/13 by Chris Clayton
Comments (10)
I must be getting a little more senile each day. I thought I read recently that most farm groups had agreed to elimination of the direct payment concept. But then life would be boring without the flip and flop of politics and the press. I wonder why Pres. Obama proposed this sequestration idea.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 8:11PM CST 02/19/13
Bonnie,,, its the GOP that like the sequestration,,, who's side are you on?
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 7:52AM CST 02/20/13
Chris/Bonnie/Jay: I think it is time to bite the bullet on direct payments. With the prices and profitability we have today, I think the industry needs to understand that we no longer need these. When so many people have lost jobs, incomes, and any sense of growth, it seems a bit selfish on the part of agriculture to be lurking at the trough of government payments. That is just my opinion. I am ready to go out and grow this year! Unfortunately, most industries are not growing. We need to be thankful that it is now agriculture's time in the sun; at least I feel that way. Our agricultural forefathers could never understand the great opportunities we have today, especially in the grain markets.
Posted by tom vogel at 8:52AM CST 02/20/13
Nothing new in Washington - the same old piggies just can't stand the thought of leaving the USDA sow. It is definitely time for some serious weaning. My apologies to the pork industry for my illustration and congratulations to your organizations for not ripping off the US taxpayers! These are some of the same groups that not only expect the taxpayer to guarantee their crop investments but also guarantee that crop investments are profitable.
Posted by Lon Truly at 8:52AM CST 02/20/13
Nothing new in Washington - the same old piggies just can't stand the thought of leaving the USDA sow. It is definitely time for some serious weaning. My apologies to the pork industry for my illustration and congratulations to your organizations for not ripping off the US taxpayers! These are some of the same groups that not only expect the taxpayer to guarantee their crop investments but also guarantee that crop investments are profitable.
Posted by Lon Truly at 8:52AM CST 02/20/13
Hey Tom, I agree,,, get rid of the corporation bilking of the system, including direct payments! But if you believe that the sequestration won't cause us to fall into major recession then you will have something to learn soon. Those being cut are some of the most vulnerable and are in true need. Farming has improved because of resource depletion, in both food and energy but higher energy and food prices are hurting the economy,,,, as Christians you should ask, "who would Jesus cut?" The "tea party" has a strangle hold on government now, if those most in need are hurt and the economy fails the GOP will fail at the next election and rightfully.
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 9:05AM CST 02/20/13
Sequestration was the Presidents idea, Jay. I believe with this, so-called across the board decrease, deficit spending will still be a problem. Sequestration is not the problem, spending is. Take a look at Spain and Greece. I have nothing against elimination of direct payments. If the spendaholics would have left the plan alone, this would have phased itself out years ago.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 10:07AM CST 02/20/13
Tom,I don,t know about all the good times you say.I was paying more income tax back in the days of 2.00 corn than we are now.Sure we handle more money but that is all it is.Everything just cost so much more now. My dad farmed the same land I do and would never haved dreamed of spending 18000 dollars on fuel alone,or paying 8000 to 10000 for land,But at the same time sold soybeans for 12.00.It is just in one pocket and out the other.
Posted by Raymond Simpkins at 11:54AM CST 02/20/13
As a fourth generation farmer i can tell from past experiences that cutting farm bills and programs would be devastating. Young beginning farmers are our future, thank God we still have hard working men and women farmers that work hard and just barely get by. They lead by example, so their children may continue what it takes to feed this country, and carry on the love of the land!
Posted by Nina Walker at 4:05AM CST 02/23/13
Nina - try reading http://www.agweb.com/farmjournal/article/high-profile_crash_of_a_titan/ and http://www.agweb.com/article/full-circle_fiasco_stamp_farms_update/ The competition faced by young starting farmers by those given multimillions in benefits by the federal government is a major force driving smaller farmers out of business. Driving all these small farmers out of business is your opinion of how to best help small farmers?
Posted by Lon Truly at 8:25AM CST 02/23/13
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