The administration’s proposed budget for USDA proposes more investments in child nutrition, food safety, rural development and renewable energy. It also proposes implementing a $250,000 farm-payment limitation.
The most controversial proposal is the phasing out over three years of direct payments to producers with sales revenue of more than $500,000. This proposal was not well received by key Congressional ag leaders and farm and commodity organizations. Highlights of the budget according to the administration include:
- More than $20 billion in loans and grants to support and expand rural development activities, including small businesses, renewable energy, and telecommunications.
- $50-million increase to address deferred maintenance on the most critical health and safety infrastructure within our national forests.
- Implementation of a $250,000 commodity program payment limit to help ensure payments are received by those most in need.
- Wildfire management and community protection – fully fund suppression costs at the 10-year average, establish a discretionary contingent reserve for wildfires, and include program reforms to ensure fire-management resources are focused where most needed.
- Fully fund the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for women, infants, and children (WIC).
- $1 billion/year for Child Nutrition reauthorization.
- Pilot program to increase senior participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
- Improved enforcement of the Packers and Stockyards Act and invest in the full diversity of ag production, including organic farming and local food systems.
- Reduce direct payments to the largest farmers, reducing crop insurance subsidies, eliminating cotton storage credits, eliminating funding for the Resource Conservation and Development program, and reducing funding for overseas brand promotion.