Trump budget would slash crop insurance funds for farmers

Trump budget would slash crop insurance funds for farmers
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump rallies in Nevada amid Supreme Court flurry: 'We're gonna get Brett' Trump: 'Good news' that Obama is campaigning again Trump boosts Heller, hammers 'Wacky Jacky' opponent in Nevada MORE’s proposed budget reduces funding for popular crop subsidies by a third, months after a Republican senator said Trump had promised not to make any cuts to the program.

The proposed budget, unveiled Monday, would cut $26 billion from the subsidies over 10 years, according to Agriculture.com.

And the average premium subsidy under the program would drop from 62 percent to 48 percent, McClatchy reported.

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Advocates for the crop insurance program say that it’s essential for farmers. The fundings helps subsidize coverage for farmers who face underperforming crops.

However, critics of the program have called it bloated and claim farmers take advantage of the protections to avoid taking measures to prevent losses.

Sen. Pat RobertsCharles (Pat) Patrick RobertsPat Robertson asks followers to help cast 'shield of protection' ahead of hurricane Cruz gets help from Senate GOP in face of serious challenge from O’Rourke The farm bill gives Congress a chance to act on the Pet and Women Safety (PAWS) Act MORE (R-Kan.), chairman of the Senate Agriculture Committee, said in September that Trump had committed to not touching the subsidies.

“I did get the backing of the President of the United States for that about two or three weeks ago, and we were able to convince the president it was a very valuable and needed program,” Roberts said.

Roberts said in a statement after the budget release that he “will hold [Trump] to his word” despite the proposed cuts, and that he plans to include funding for crop insurance in the upcoming farm bill.

Trump had also said he supports crop insurance during a speech at the American Farm Bureau’s annual convention in January.

“I‘m looking forward to working with Congress to pass the farm bill on time so that it delivers for all of you, and I support a bill that includes crop insurance,” Trump said at the time. “We’re working hard on the farm bill and I think it’s going to go well.”

Some farmers groups ripped the proposed cuts. The American Soybean Association said in a statement Tuesday that the cuts “make this budget a non-starter.”

“As the farm economy continues to struggle in its recovery, farmers cannot afford these backbreaking cuts. And while we understand that the White House budget is considered by many to be an illustrative policy document, we are concerned that this approach only emboldens those in Congress that would see these programs significantly reduced or entirely eliminated,” the group's president, John Heisdorffer, said in the statement.

“We strongly urge Congress to push this budget to the side and continue to advance practical farm policy,” he added.