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"President Trump is proposing to slash crop insurance and other farm programs by $47 billion over 10 years and to dramatically overhaul the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, eventually shrinking its cost to taxpayers by one-third. The proposals will be dead on arrival in the House and Senate Agriculture committees but they would provide ammunition to farm bill critics on the right and left who would like to reduce nutrition assistance and farm subsidies. A summary of the fiscal 2019 budget’s proposed cuts says the plan, released today, would “maintain a strong safety-net for farmers while achieving savings by eliminating subsidies to higher income farmers, reducing overly generous crop insurance subsidies to producers and companies, and by eliminating some programs that have no federal purpose.” The budget would save $22 billion over 10 years, nearly half of the farm program cut, by reducing crop insurance premium subsidies from the current average of 62 percent to a “more reasonable” 48 percent. Underwriting gains to insurance companies would be capped at 12 percent, saving another $3 billion over 10 years. Trump also proposes to eliminate not just premium subsidies but also commodity payments and conservation benefits to farmers who have adjusted gross incomes of more than $500,000. The budget also would kill the Conservation Stewardship Program, Regional Conservation Partnership Programs and tighten rules for the Conservation Reserve Program to slash conservation spending by $13 billion over 10 years...According to the USDA budget summary, the administration wants to limit CRP enrollment of whole farm fields, except for grasslands, and end signing and practice incentive payments, with the exception of the Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program. CRP payments also would be capped at 80 percent of local rental rates. Trump's plan for SNAP is even more far-reaching than many of his farm program proposals: The budget calls for partially converting SNAP to a commodity distribution program and tightening work requirements, slashing projected spending on the program by $213 billion over 10 years..."This is the most caustic, anti-farmer budget request that we have seen in many many years," said Greg Fogel, policy director of the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition. "If the Administration's FY19 budget request is realized, America's family farmers and ranchers will suffer, rural communities will lose the tools and resources on which they depend for job creation and enterprise development, low-income individuals and families will be denied the critical nutrition support that they need, our water will become more polluted, and research investments will be decimated rather than growing as they should."...Trump's FY19 budget also would cut or eliminate a number of USDA programs that are funded outside the farm bill. Among the proposals: Kill the McGovern-Dole international school-feeding program to save $202 million in 2019...Eliminate the Food for Progress food aid program, saving $1.7 billion over 10 years."

Posted February 12th, 2018