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Trump Plan Would Cut USDA Food, Rural Water Funding
USAgNet - 03/17/2017

President Donald Trump has proposed halting funding for rural clean water initiatives and reducing county-level staff, for a 21 percent drop in discretionary spending at the Department of Agriculture, according to a White House budget document.

Reuters reports that the $4.7 billion in cuts would leave USDA with a budget of $17.9 billion after cutting some statistical and rural business services and encouraging private sector conservation planning. Farm groups warned that farmers and rural communities could suffer.

The budget proposal would save $498 million by eliminating a rural water and wastewater loan and grant program that helps fund clean water and sewer systems in communities with fewer than 10,000 people.

Other areas targeted for cuts include staffing at county-level USDA service centers.

"That's a big concern because a lot of farmers and growers rely on USDA's statistical capabilities to make a lot of marketing and risk management decisions and planting decisions," said John Newton of the American Farm Bureau.

The budget proposal did not give details of which services could be cut.

The White House also said it would eliminate the McGovern-Dole International Food for Education program, which donates U.S. agricultural commodities to food-deficit countries.

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