Not everyone in ag is giving a nod of approval to President Donald Trump’s FY2019 budget. The American Soybean Association has voiced opposition to proposed cuts in the budget, including reductions in the federal crop insurance program through a cap on adjusted gross income (AGI) and a reduction in premium subsidy, and elimination of the Foreign Market Development program and Market Access Program.
ASA President John Heisdorffer, a farmer from Keota, Iowa, issued a statement warning Congress to avoid the cuts, which would do significant harm to the nation’s soybean farmers:
“The proposed cuts in crop insurance and farm programs make this budget a non-starter. We’ve opposed cuts to crop insurance from Republican and Democratic administrations alike. This budget revisits those cuts to an even greater degree, cutting crop insurance by approximately 30 percent. It would also eliminate the MAP and FMD export promotion programs, which we rely on to expand our reach into new and existing export markets around the world. Additionally in this budget, we’re looking at ill-advised cuts to international food assistance programs, conservation programs and to valuable agricultural research.
“As the farm economy continues to struggle in its recovery, farmers cannot afford these backbreaking cuts. And while we understand that the White House budget is considered by many to be an illustrative policy document, we are concerned that this approach only emboldens those in Congress that would see these programs significantly reduced or entirely eliminated. We strongly urge Congress to push this budget to the side and continue to advance practical farm policy.”
The National Corn Growers Association echoed Heisdorffer’s statement:
“Targeting the federal crop insurance program is extremely shortsighted. These cuts would reduce premium subsidies for policies with harvest price coverage by 15 percentage points. It also reduces premium subsidies for policies without harvest price coverage by 10 percentage points.
“This is particularly harmful during an extended period of low commodity prices. NCGA members consistently tell us that crop insurance is their most important risk management tool. This public-private partnership helps farmers manage their risk, and it saves taxpayers money in the long run by reducing reliance on ad hoc disaster assistance.
“MAP and FMD create an average return on investment of $28 for every $1 spent, and account for 15 percent of all U.S. ag export revenue—making them a solid investment. At a time when the farm economy is struggling, we should be investing more in these programs that open markets and increase demand, not less.
“We urge Congress to honor the commitment they made to rural America when they reauthorized the farm bill in 2014. We hope to engage in a meaningful dialogue about how we can support America’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities through these challenging economic times.”