In the Reid proposal, more than $27.5 billion in net spending reductions are earmarked for farm programs, with the cuts coming from elimination of direct payments and no provision to allow use of some of the savings for reinvestment in new safety-net or risk-management concepts, Stallman said.
"The magnitude of these proposed cuts will hamstring the House and Senate agriculture committees from crafting a farm bill that includes the safety-net and risk-management provisions that our farmers need," he said. "We recognize there are many steps on the road toward restoring fiscal responsibility to our federal government and that some will be painful. That pain, however, should be a shared experience and not take such a heavy toll from any one sector."
AFBF Farm Policy Specialist Mary Kay Thatcher emphasized the importance of maintaining a strong safety net for farmers.
"Our fear is that if you take that much money out of the budget now, you cannot write a farm bill that has an adequate safety net," Thatcher said. "If you look at just last year and you think about the fact that we had the worst drought in this country since the Dust Bowl in the 1930s, the fact is we had no call in this country for ad hoc disaster assistance from Congress, because we have a crop insurance program that works pretty darn well. If we don't maintain that crop insurance program and the safety net and improve it, we'll go right back to having to ask Congress for that assistance every year."
Source: Christine Souza