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Agricultural Budget Cuts Could Change Safety Nets For Farmers

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NPR.org
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Last week Donald Trump released his proposed budget plan for 2018. According to the budget, the U.S Department of Agriculture would take one of the biggest cuts with a decrease of $4.7 billion in funding. 

The proposed budget for 2018 would make some major cuts to USDA programs. DeeVon Bailey, a professor of applied economics at Utah State University, said in those cuts the safety net programs for farmers could see the most change.

“Limiting crop insurance eligibility and minimizing the harvest price option for crop insurance,” Bailey said. “That could have some impact on the safety net that is available to farmers.”

The budget would apply to the agricultural industry across the United States but according to Bailey, those here in Utah could experience the effects, as crop insurance has become more important.

“Crop insurance has become more popular in the state and so this may effect some of our farmers,” Bailey said. “As far as the amount of money they pay for crop insurance or coverage they get still remains to be seen.”

Bailey said it appears the government wants to increase inspection fees for plants that produce meat, poultry and eggs. This would have an effect on the many food producers in the state of Utah.

“Economics would tell us that would have some impact at the margin on prices for plants where these inspections take place,” Bailey said.

There is good news for professors and college students, especially at Utah State University which is the state’s agricultural college, according to Bailey. The funding for research programs have not been reduced in the president’s proposed budget.

Bailey said this is just a proposal and has not taken effect yet. This is just the start of the conversation about what details of the budget might or might not pass. Although he says Utahns can count on pressure to eliminate funding for the safety net programs for farmers.

“This is simply a proposal and budgets do go through a lot of machinations and massaging before they become law,” Bailey said. “There is no guarantee that if it’s in the president’s proposed budget that it will actually become law.”

Bailey said those who do not agree with certain aspects of the proposal can still make a difference.

“If they have any concerns, they should express those concerns to their congressional delegation at this point,” Bailey said.