AFBF, broad coalition unite against farm bill cuts

The American Farm Bureau Federation, along with a diverse coalition of more than 100 organizations, has sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns voicing concern about possible agriculture spending reductions.

According to the coalition letter, reductions or restructurings of the 2002 farm fill would “seriously undermine many nutrition, conservation, crop insurance and farm programs that are important to all Americans.”

“Many of these critically important programs already have sustained budget reductions in recent years,” the letter continued, citing reductions in funding for many discretionary agriculture programs, and reductions of $4 billion in mandatory agriculture spending.

“A budget that requires further cuts or structural weakening in these important programs will put at risk the promising environmental benefits of the bill, and the nutritional health of some of the poorest populations in our country,” according to the coalition.

“With prices for many major commodities falling sharply from last year, reductions to farm programs would come at precisely the time that these supports are most needed in rural America.”

The coalition added: “All of the American families and industries impacted by the Agriculture Department’s programs have labored hard to work with Congress and USDA to create programs in the farm bill that work for our constituents within the specific budget limits provided by Congress,” and noted that farm bill costs through the past three years were more than $15 billion less than initially projected when Congress passed the 2002 bill.

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