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Farm Conservation Programs Slashed in Bush's New Budget Plan

From Ag News You Can Use #68 < May 23, 2005


Congress last week "moved a step closer to reopening the 2002 farm bill" by approving a budget resolution calling for a $35- billion reduction in mandatory government spending and $70 billion in tax cuts over the period of 2006 to 2010. The resolution requires an overall reduction in agriculture spending by $173 million in fiscal year 2006 and total $3 billion over the next five years. It will be up to the agriculture committees in the House and Senate to decide what programs the cuts will come from.

Agriculture Committee Chairman Saxby Chambliss says the committee will "reduce spending equitably among the commodity support, conservation and nutrition programs." Meanwhile, the House Agriculture Appropriations subcommittee on Monday recommended a bill that would cut conservation funding by $60 million from the 05 levels, and shortchange these programs to the tune of $389 million below the levels promised in the farm bill -- and also reinstates a cap on funding for the Conservation Security Program. The worst-hit program in the Agriculture Appropriations bill is the Wetlands Reserve Program, which is slashed by 56%.

This cut is particularly ironic considering that the President on Earth Day gave a speech praising the role of the Farm Bill programs in enhancing wetlands. You can ask your Senators to support full funding of conservation programs by calling the congressional switchboard at 202-224-3121.