President’s Proposed FY21 Budget: Mixed Bag for Rural America

Feb 13, 2020

The White House released the President’s proposed budget for the 2021 fiscal year earlier this week. Provisions are a mixed bag of both good and bad for rural America. Budget proposals can be found here.

In the positive category, ASA is pleased to see:

  • -Significant investments in infrastructure, specifically surface transportation ($810 billion) and other infrastructure ($190 billion), totaling $1 trillion in infrastructure investment over 10 years.
  • -Full funding for the four trade programs that now comprise the International Market Development Program ($255 million). Of this total amount, $200 million is being requested for the Market Access Program (MAP), $35 million for the Foreign Market Development Program (FMD), $9 million for the Technical Assistance for Specialty Crops (TASC), and $8 million for the Emerging Markets Program (EMP). The Budget creates a new program, called the Quality Samples Program, using $2 million from the Emerging Markets Program and the $1.5 million unallocated balance.
  • -An increase in research funding for the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) to $600 million, which is $175 million over fiscal year 2020.

In the negative category, ASA is disappointed to see:

  • -Significant cuts to the farm safety net, including over $43 billion in cuts to crop insurance, Title I and conservation programs. In Title I, this includes restricting payment eligibility rules and payment limits. In conservation, this includes cuts to the Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP) and the Agricultural Conservation Easement Program. In crop insurance, this includes cuts to premium subsidy levels for farmers and to private sector delivery. ASA has routinely opposed cuts to crop insurance, a critical risk management tool for farmers and valued by lenders. In December, ASA joined a coalition of ag groups on a letter to USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue and Acting Director of the Office of Budget and Management Russell Vought, underscoring the importance of crop insurance—especially during the current economic period of low prices and challenging weather events throughout the growing season.
  • -The elimination of the McGovern-Dole Food for Education program, which provides high-quality American-sourced commodities, including U.S. soy, for millions of children in 24 countries across Africa, Asia and Latin America.

These proposals are the first step in a lengthy federal budget process. ASA will actively monitor any legislative or regulatory activity related to these proposals.