WAWG calls for full funding of USDA and key farm bill programs

With the release of the Trump Administration’s FY2019 Budget proposal that calls for a $47 billion reduction to USDA risk management programs and key safety net provisions over 10 years, the Washington Association of Wheat Growers (WAWG) and President Marci Green, a wheat grower from Fairfield, Wash., issued the following statement:

“Risk management programs, including crop insurance and safety net programs offered under the Farm Bill, are critical to the wheat industry. They are not a hand-out. We are very concerned about the impact these drastic cuts will have on farmers across Washington and the nation.”

WAWG Executive Director Michelle Hennings added, “Rural America could be devastated by weakening the farm bill and imposing restrictions on essential programs related to crop insurance, commodity, conservation, trade, nutrition, research, and economic development. Given the current economic conditions and historic low prices, we are disappointed the Administration is looking to cut programs that help keep America’s wheat industry productive and competitive on a global scale.”

The FY2019 Budget would establish a $500,000 Adjusted Gross Income (AGI) limitation for crop insurance, commodity, and conservation program eligibility. The proposal also calls for a reduction to the average premium discount in the crop insurance programs, cutting $22.4 billion over 10 years. Further, the budget caps underwriting gains for crop insurance companies at 12 percent, which is $3 billion in cuts over 10 years.

The FY2019 Budget also proposes “streamlining” conservation programs—a cut of $13.042 billion over 10 years. The budget also eliminates the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Regional Conservation Partnership Program (RCPP). Conservation programs, like these have allowed growers to maintain healthier soils and to better integrate sustainable farming practices into their operations.

“Farm safety net programs, crop insurance, and efforts to conserve our rich natural resources should not be subject to mandatory spending cuts or limitations as budget considerations continue,” said Green. “The USDA and the Farm Bill must be fully funded to allow America’s producers to do what they do best—provide a safe and abundant food supply.”