US Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue headlined the Montana Ag Summit in Great Falls, Montana Thursday. Perdue’s main focus was speaking on ways the Trump Administration is working to strengthen Agriculture, despite ongoing budget challenges. The recent budget proposal seeks a cut of approximately $4.7 billion dollars or 21% for the 2018 Fiscal year:
Perdue indicated the administration is looking at changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program as well as complete elimination of the Rural Economic Development Loan and Grant program. But its the proposed cuts to crop insurance that are causing producers the most heartburn:
So far, the cuts to crop insurance seem to be a non-starter in Congress. Senate Ag Committee Chair and another attendee to Thursday’s conference, Pat Roberts, voiced his opposition to such cuts during a committee hearing last week, as has Senate Ranking Member Debbie Stabenow of Michigan. Mike Conaway and Colin Peterson, chair and ranking member of the House Ag Committee have also stated their support for maintaining crop insurance in recent days.
Perdue moves on to Idaho Friday where he will visit the National Interagency Fire Center with Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke.