IFB opposes Trump budget proposal

Proposed budget would cut $3.6 billion from USDA.

The White House this week released its proposed budget for fiscal year 2020, including significant cuts to crop insurance.

By Deana Stroisch

President Donald Trump’s proposed cuts to USDA’s budget would be “devastating to farmers,” according to Illinois Farm Bureau President Richard Guebert Jr.

“Farmers have faced an enormous amount of uncertainty over the past year and this does not help family farms make plans for the future,” Guebert said.

The administration’s proposed fiscal year 2020 budget requested $20.8 billion for USDA – a 15 percent or $3.6 billion reduction from current spending levels.

The proposal includes significant cuts to crop insurance, which IFB fought to protect in the 2018 farm bill, along with cuts to conservation funding. More specifically, the proposal calls for:

 - An Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) limit of $500,000 on crop insurance.

 - Reducing the average premium discount for farmers by 14 percent from an average of about 62 percent to 48 percent.

- Reducing subsidies to crop insurance companies, such as COUNTRY Financial, by setting a 12 percent cap for underwriting gains.

 - Eliminating the Rural Economic Development Program, which provides funding for rural projects through utilities.

 - Eliminating the Conservation Stewardship Program.

 - Imposing various user fees, including an Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service fee and an Agricultural Marketing Service user fee.

 - Cutting funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program by $17 billion.

Related: IFB official “very concerned” about proposed crop insurance cuts. Read more here.

Adam Nielsen, IFB’s director of national legislation and policy development, said the president’s budget “is a policy document – virtually dead on arrival.”

“But it keeps these discussions going and requires us to needlessly defend programs again,” he said.

IFB members participating in the Leaders to Washington trip last week reminded lawmakers of the importance of crop insurance.