Some in agriculture have expressed concern with the fiscal year 2012 budget resolution offered by House Budget Chair Paul Ryan, R-Wisc. Among other things, the proposal would make heavy cuts from commodity, crop insurance and trade promotion programs. The plan would cut farm programs by $30 billion over 10 years, a reduction that would put considerable pressure on 2008 Farm Bill energy title programs, and slashes conservation funding by $18 billion over the next decade.
There is some opposition from other House members as to the size of the cuts to agriculture. Ranking Member of the House Agriculture Committee Collin Peterson, D-Minn., says that planned cut is three times the $10 million in farm program cuts that President Obama's deficit commission had called for.
"That's something people can live with," said Peterson. "However, there's no justification for a $30 billion cut. Overall, we're talking about a 25% cut for ag, and we're not seeing 25% cuts to other parts of the budget bill."
Senator Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, believes the proposed budget will pass with limited changes. Even so, he says it's important to remember that the budget never becomes law; it's just a spending discipline for the committees of Congress.
"It's the actual appropriation bills that are going to make the difference," Grassley said. "So the passing of the budget is only a suggestion that that is where some savings in agriculture ought to come from, but it is going to be up to the Agriculture Committees to make the decision of where the savings come from."
Grassley says that means ag-friendly lawmakers will look for cuts in a way that does the least harm to the agricultural safety net. In the area of research, Grassley says he would fight for fewer cuts. But in the end he says agriculture should be cut like everything else, but not more than everything else.
"One of the strengths of our argument against cutting funding for agricultural research would be is it treated fairly with research for the National Science Foundation or research like the National Institute of Health as an example."