President’s Budget Seeks to Cut Rural Business Programs and WIC
Each year, the President submits his budget to Congress which serves as the administration’s general wish-list for federal programs and initiatives. By requesting (or not requesting) the funds necessary to do certain work the President’s budget proposal offers a glimpse into the Administration’s general priorities. In the coming months, Congress and the White House begin the complex work of debating and negotiating the proposed budget and its implications for the federal government’s work.
Last week President Trump released his much-anticipated initial (“skinny”) budget, which contained a few surprises, including a 21% cut in funding to the United States Department of Agriculture. The President’s budget proposes to completely eliminate discretionary funding for rural business programs, including: the Value-Added Producer Grants (VAPG) program, Rural Business Development Grants (RBDG) program, Rural Cooperative Development Grants (RCDG), and Appropriate Technology Transfer for Rural Areas (ATTRA) program. The budget also proposes to cut $200 million funding for the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, which provides healthcare and nutrition assistance to low-income pregnant, postpartum, and breastfeeding women, infants, and children.
The Farmers Market Coalition joins our friends and partners in the agriculture community in voicing serious concern at the cuts to the Department of Agriculture and rural development programs and the impacts that these cuts may have on American farmers and ranchers, whose incomes are down 50% from four years ago. In a statement issued on Friday, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Michael Conaway shared that “America’s farmers and ranchers are struggling, and we need to be extremely careful not to exacerbate these conditions.”
Learn more on the agricultural community’s reaction to the proposed budget below: