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Hundreds of Ag Groups Want to See Farm Bill Funding
USAgNet - 02/22/2017

Reduced spending under the 2014 farm bill contributed greatly to the nation's deficit reduction effort. However, additional cuts to the 2018 farm bill would present perils on many fronts, a diverse coalition today told congressional appropriations and budget leaders. In a letter, 502 different groups, representing a wide range of constituents - from agriculture and nutrition assistance to rural development, conservation and local governments, said additional funding cuts would "hinder development and passage of the 2018 Farm Bill."

Support for the letter was spearheaded by the American Farm Bureau Federation, Bread for the World, Feeding America, the Food Research & Action Center, the National Association of Counties, the National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition and the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

The letter strongly urged the congressional leaders "to reject calls for additional cuts" during a time when the agricultural and rural economies are showing stress, a significant number of American households financially are struggling to meet basic nutrition needs and U.S. farm income has declined 46 percent from only three years ago.

The last farm bill contributed $23 billion in savings to deficit reduction over 10 years at the time of passage, the letter states. That was the first time when spending for a farm bill was voluntarily reduced before Congress even began considering the measure.

"It was the only reauthorization bill in that Congress that voluntarily offered savings," the letter said. "These difficult cuts resulted from hard choices made to reform and reduce the farm safety net, conservation initiatives, and nutrition assistance."

In reality, savings from the 2014 farm bill was far more. The Congressional Budget Office's January 2017 baseline estimates spending on nutrition and crop insurance alone was nearly $100 billion less than projected, while mandatoryż federal spending outside the Agriculture Committees' jurisdiction has risen over the same time period.

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