Ag News

Trump's proposed budget funds SHEP, makes deep cuts to USDA

President Donald Trump’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2020 recommends more than $130 million in federal funds for the Savannah Harbor Expansion Project (SHEP), marking the third straight year SHEP would receive federal funding, pending Congressional approval.

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.) called the inclusion of funding for SHEP a cause for celebration.

“Our continuous efforts are paying off, and we all look forward to seeing this project through to completion,” Isakson said.   

While the SHEP funding was welcome news for Georgia farmers, the president’s proposal to cut the USDA budget by 15 percent drew criticism from House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-Minn.), as well as agricultural stakeholder groups.

“The president’s budget request is a road map for how to make things worse for farmers, ranchers and those who live in rural communities,” Peterson said, noting that the president’s budget lops $26 billion from crop insurance, $9 billion from conservation programs, $5 billion from programs that help ranchers recover grazing lands harmed by drought among others.

Meanwhile, the American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF), several state Farm Bureaus and nearly 200 organizations sent a letter to House and Senate budget and appropriations committee members urging congressional budget writers to reject calls for cuts to farm bill programs.

“These difficult cuts in 2014 resulted from hard choices made in partnership with agricultural leaders and were designed to substantially reform the farm safety net, conservation initiatives and nutrition assistance – ultimately reducing the financial support provided to America’s farmers and ranchers,” the groups wrote.