Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue will give testimony to the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Subcommittee today. The subcommittee will hold a hearing on President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, Michel Young, the Department of Agriculture budget officer who is also acting deputy secretary, and Robert Johansson, USDA’s chief economist, are scheduled to testify. The budget proposal would cut funding for trade promotion programs and eliminate more than 230 jobs geared toward boosting U.S. exports. These proposed cuts follow a promise from the Secretary that the administration would focus on expanding foreign market access to help farmers. The plan also proposes to cut $193 billion from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program over the next decade, and makes cuts to farm subsidies.
Budget Constraints are Real, International Food Aid in Jeopardy
House Agriculture Committee leaders are arguing against White House proposals to eliminate the two-key international food aid programs, Food for Peace and McGovern-Dole International Food for Education.
The U.S. food aid programs the Trump Administration now wants to eliminate, are generating bipartisan support on the House Ag Committee.
Chairman Mike Conaway…
“Eliminating excess programs seems a bit contrary to the role of any robust America First policy. While less drastic than proposed elimination of these programs, I also fear that continued efforts to chip away at the core of food aid programs, and to increasingly turn them into a cash-based assistance programs will ultimately erode the alliance of domestic agriculture and maritime supporters that have long advocated for these programs.”
The Obama Administration unsuccessfully proposed some cash-based food assistance. But Conaway argues, today’s budget constraints are “real” and program savings are needed, including by helping struggling nations to improve their own farming systems.
USDA Releases Latest WASDE Report
USDA’s latest World Agriculture Supply and Demand estimates report released Friday offered no changes to U.S. corn ending stocks and increased the ending stocks estimate for soybeans. USDA increased soybean ending stocks for new-crop soybeans to 495 million bushels, up from 480 million last month, and left new-crop corn ending stocks unchanged at 2.1 billion bushels. The season average corn price estimate received by producers is unchanged from last month at $3.00 to $3.80 per bushel. The season-average price for soybeans was forecasted at $8.30 to $10.30 per bushel, and the season-average farm price for wheat is projected at $3.90 to $4.70 per bushel, up five cents from the latest report.