President Barack Obama’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, conventionally known as the deficit commission, is considering deep cuts to farm subsidies as part of a proposal to balance the federal budget. Direct farm subsidies would be cut by $3 billion a year. The proposal also calls for cutting $5 billion annual payments to cotton and grain farmers, reductions in the Conservation Security Program, and cuts to overseas promotions of US agricultural products.
These proposed cuts face fierce opposition in Congress. The chairman of the House Agriculture Committee, Rep. Frank Lucas, R-OK, has already announced his opposition to the $5 billion direct payment cuts, and Senator Chuck Grassley, R-IA, has signaled an unwillingness to endorse the committee’s cuts until he sees the final proposal.
Former Agriculture Secretary Dan Glickman has cited agriculture’s increasing profitability and economic vitality as evidence that subsidy cuts are inevitable. Farm programs “should not be focused on helping people when times are good and that’s where we are now,” he said. Others took issue with the broad cuts. Ferd Hoefner of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition argued against cutting sustainability programs, stating, “Rather than incorrectly lumping conservation incentives with production subsidies, the deficit commission should instead look to CSP as the template for a leaner, public benefit-oriented farm program.”
Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer