The USDA is getting ready for sizeable funding cuts for social and rural programs.
With the proposed Trump administration budget has come a threat to many USDA services, including the crop insurance program.
That coverage risks significant reductions, as do food stamps, and rural development programs, among others.
The proposed cuts to the crop insurance program and others operated through the USDA are far from modest.
“I don’t think there’s any reason to try to sugar coat this,” said Sonny Perdue, USDA secretary. “I’ve communicated with our team at USDA and just said ‘look, when times are tough we just dig down and do more’ — and that’s what we will do here.”
Furthermore, the Trump administration has also proposed plans to implement stricter food assistance program eligibility for people living in poverty. Over 43 million people across the United States receive food stamps every month. As a result, the federal budget cuts to this program will affect millions of poor people throughout the country.
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About three quarters of the USDA’s budget pays for crop insurance, food stamps and other mandatory programs.
These federal programs also include the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and certain conservation programs, among others. “It’s obvious that USDA as well as many parts of government will face a significant funding reduction. The president campaigned on the fact that we we’re going to reduce deficits, and that’s what he’s doing in this budget,” said Perdue.
All told, USDA funding will be reduced by about 21 percent in fiscal year 2018, when compared to the current fiscal year. This will bring it to $18 billion. In the effort to help reduce its costs so it can continue to cover the mandatory programs it provides, the department expects to have to reduce its total workforce by 5.5 percent.
Once the Georgia governor, Perdue has been in his current position at the USDA for a month and a half. While he has made rather “glass half full” statements about the changes to food stamps, the crop insurance program and other USDA programs, he did state that the 2018 fiscal budget for his agency was made without his input.