Agriculture Won't Escape Budget Cutting

US - Former Texas Congressman Charlie Stenholm, a Blue Dog Democrat who supports reducing the federal budget, told members of the American Farm Bureau Federation that farm programmes won't escape future cuts.
calendar icon 12 January 2010
clock icon 2 minute read

"We're evolving into an agriculture that soon will not be subsidised. Get ready for it," Mr Stenholm said at the Farm Bureau's annual meeting in Seattle.

According to, Mr Stenholm praised House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) for announcing hearings on the 2012 farm bill, starting in March.

"He's very far-sighted," Mr Stenholm said, adding that if the budget deficit is going to be resolved agriculture won.t escape the need to cut government spending.

Later, Mr Stenholm told reporters that he expects discussion of ways to improve agricultural programmes while trimming spending. There will be a lot of discussion of programmes patterned on insurance that protect risk, he said, and direct payments are endangered.

Mr Stenholm said that he hopes nutrition programmes won't put even more pressure on farm programmes because of an improving economy. But there may have to be more balance in farm programmes, too, he suggested.

"How do you justify a subsidy for biofuels, for corn ethanol, and a direct payment," he asked.

Mr Stenholm's support for balancing the federal budget has a sympathetic audience at Farm Bureau. The group formed a federal deficit task force committee that's advocating balancing the federal budget by 2019.

And, the group, in principal, supports "putting agriculture on the table" to do its fair share, said Farm Bureau chief economist Bob Young, who worked with the task force.

But it may be too soon to expect the farm organisation to decide how to cut farm programmes.

"Our voting delegates aren't very friendly toward considering any spending cuts," the task force chairman, Iowa Farm Bureau President, Craig Lang, told

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