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Trump’s Budget Unites Farmers and Foodies

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

President Trump’s budget request managed to do something few could have imagined: unite farmers and foodies.

Neither farm groups like the American Farm Bureau Federation, nor anti-hunger leaders like Bread for the World, nor food advocates like Tom Colicchio found much to like in Trump’s budget, which was released Tuesday. His budget proposes to cut programs farmers depend upon to develop safer pesticides and expand local markets and global exports. He also urged Congress to gut programs that help feed hungry Americans and reward better farm stewardship. He eliminated programs designed to help rural communities.

In the words of Farm Bureau President Zippy Duvall, the Trump budget “fails agriculture and rural America.”

If adopted by the Congress, Trump’s budget would increase hunger, reduce farm income, increase rural poverty, make farmworkers less safe, increase farm pollution and make our food less safe.

Here are just some of the most outrageous food and farm proposals in Trump’s budget:

  • Cuts Anti-Hunger Assistance. The Trump budget cuts funding for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, by $193 billion – a 25 percent cut – by shifting costs to cash-strapped states, making fewer poor people eligible and reducing benefits. The budget also cuts a separate program designed to help pregnant women, babies and toddlers by $188 million and eliminates all funding for the Food for Peace program.
  • Cuts Food Safety. The Trump budget cuts food safety funding for the Food and Drug Administration by $117 million and shifts the cost of USDA food inspections to the food industry. That’s bad news for the roughly 3,000 Americans who will die this year from food-borne illnesses —and for companies trying to implement a sweeping new food safety law.
  • Cuts Local Food Programs. The Trump budget zeroes out several USDA programs designed to help farmers sell directly to local consumers. Almost 10 percent of farmers now sell through farmers’ markets or similar channels.
  • Cuts Pesticide Reviews. The Trump budget cuts Environmental Protection Agency funding for pesticide review programs by 20 percent delaying reviews of new, potentially safer pesticides as well as reviews of older, more dangerous pesticides.
  • Guts Organic Programs. The budget eliminates funding for USDA programs to help farmers transition to organic farming – even though the U.S. is importing more and more organic food. Helping farmers transition to organic would allow them to earn a premium for their crops.
  • Eliminates Farmworker Training. The Trump budget eliminates a Department of Labor program to train migrant and seasonal farmworkers – just one week after the EPA delayed implementation of stronger rules to  protect farm workers and just two months after EPA reversed a ban on a pesticide linked to brain damage.
  • Eliminates Rural Development Programs. The Trump budget eliminates several programs designed to boost rural development, including programs to build or upgrade water treatment plants. USDA rural development funding would fall by nearly $4 billion under Trump’s proposal.
  • Suspends and Eliminates Farm Stewardship Programs. The Trump budget suspends the Conservation Stewardship Program, which helps farmers manage their land more sustainably, and the Conservation Reserve Program, which encourages taking environmentally sensitive lands out of crop production. It also eliminates other USDA and EPA programs designed to reward farm stewardship. Overall, the Trump budget cuts EPA funding by 31 percent..
  • Eliminates Anti-Obesity Programs. The Trump budget eliminates funding for an entire Centers for Disease Control and Prevention division designed to reduce obesity – even though one-third of American adults are obese. 
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