2017 budget plan aims to cut $18 billion in funding for the Department of Agriculture
President Barack Obama has proposed a budget plan for 2017 that could have a major impact on farmers throughout the country. These farmers rely on crop insurance to protect them from the financial implications of natural disasters and underproduction, but this form of coverage has become a financial burden on the country. Obama has proposed to cut some $18 billion in funding for crop coverage offered through the Department of Agriculture over the next 10 years.
Agency suggests cuts to crop coverage will benefit taxpayers
According to the Department of Agriculture, the cuts to crop coverage will benefit both taxpayers and farmers. The budget proposal is meant to reform the country’s crop insurance program so that it is less of a financial problem for taxpayers. These reforms are not meant to remove the safety net that farmers benefit from, however. The proposal highlights two reforms within the Farm and Foreign Agricultural Service Risk Management Agency.
Reforming the crop coverage program could make insurance more expensive for farmers
The first proposed reform would cut funding for the Department of Agriculture by eliminating prevented planting coverage options, some of which was offered through the Agricultural Act of 2014. Through such coverage options, farmers can purchase as much as 10% of prevented planting insurance in order to gain access to higher federal subsidies. Cuts in funding for the Department of Agriculture may end up increasing the cost of crop insurance for many farmers, however, according to some federal lawmakers.
Crop coverage proves to be a divisive issue among federal lawmakers
Cutting crop insurance has not been a popular endeavor or successful endeavor. Last year, the federal Senate rejected a plan to cut $3 billion from the federal crop coverage program. Lawmakers had expressed concern that cutting crop coverage would place farmers under a great deal of financial strain. Those that wish to see the crop coverage program reformed, however, suggest that it crop insurance is far too much of a burden on taxpayers that do not benefit from the program in any way.