2013 Budget Proposal
The 2013 budget that President Obama has proposed will include cutting billions of dollars of farm subsidies and other spending in the USDA’s $23 billion dollar proposed fiscal-year budget, culminating in a 3% reduction in spending for the agency. This would include a complete elimination of the direct payment subsidy program, in addition to reducing crop insurance subsidies. Farmers here in Washington and across the nation are concerned that these cuts are a reflection on the current strength of the farm economy, with the possible belief that the improved prosperity of many farmers in 2011 encourages the elimination of farm programs. Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack addresses this concern.
VILSACK: The fiscal constraints we find ourselves, they’re basically three pots of money in our budget and certainly farm programs, farm payments are in one pot, conservation, and nutrition assistance, those are the three pots. And I think there’s a general consensus that the direct payment system is going to change, because fiscal realities will necessitate it. I think that as we begin the conversation of the 2012 farm bill, the reality is we continue to need a safety net. So we’ll work with Congress to reshape that safety net to provide the help and assistance that farmers need when they need it. That will probably involve continued commitment to crop insurance as well as some kind of revenue protection program. The farm income helps, but the reality is that we all know, that there are always circumstances and situations where farmers suffer, so we need a safety net. That safety net is going to change, but we are still going to have one.
I’m Lacy Gray and that’s Washington Ag Today on the Northwest Ag Information Network.