Several farm groups are urging Congress to prevent proposed agricultural budget cuts for the fiscal year 2005. Under President Bushâ€™s plan, USDAâ€™s 2005 budget authority for discretionary programs would be reduced about $1.7 billion or 8.1% compared to the spending levels adopted for the current fiscal year.
On Monday a letter was sent on behalf of 13 farm groups urging congressional budget writers to oppose cuts to agricultural programs. USDA will take the largest hit of any cabinet-level department under the administrationâ€™s FY05 budget proposal. When the increases for Homeland Security functions within the agriculture budget are considered, the cuts for traditional USDA programs climb to nearly $2.1 billion or 10% of total discretionary spending authority.
The groups asked Congress to uphold the commitments made in the 2002 farm law. "Efforts to enhance economic opportunities for Americaâ€™s farmers and rural communities require that the federal budget be able to accommodate a meaningful economic safety net for producers, expand our nationâ€™s resource conservation, renewable energy and agricultural research activities while addressing a broad range of rural development and global hunger needs," the letter says.
The following organizations sent the letter: American Corn Growers Association, American Farm Bureau Federation, Farm Credit Council, National Farmers Union, National Association of Wheat Growers, National Cotton Council, National Grain Sorghum Producers, National Grange, National Grape Cooperative, R-CALF USA, Soybean Producers of America, U.S.A. Rice Federation and U.S. Rice Producers Association.