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May 26, 2017

House Appropriators Plan to Make Ag Funding Cuts with a Scalpel, Not an Axe – Audio

President Trump’s 10 year budget proposal for USDA handed down on Tuesday is facing blowback on Capitol Hill, even among Republicans.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are hesitant to lower spending on the farm safety net, rural development, foreign market promotion and food aid – given the current economic environment in rural America.

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue had the task of testifying Wednesday — at the Rayburn House Office Building before the House Appropriations Committee’s Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration, and Related Agencies — regarding the proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget.

The budget was essential crafted by the White House Office of Management and Budget.  Lawmakers will have the final say.

Subcommittee Chair Robert Aderholt of Alabama opened the hearing by stating the panel’s mission.

Budget Hearing 1

Still, Aderholt recognized the current budget environment on Capitol Hill in his opening remarks.

Budget Hearing 2

Subcommittee Ranking Member Bishop of Georgia used his opening remarks to express concerns about the White House’s plan to reorganize USDA.

Budget Hearing 3

Secretary Perdue tried to reassure the panel about the administration’s commitment to rural development, with the White House calling the reorganization an “elevation of rural development.”

Budget Hearing 4

House appropriators on both sides of the aisle expressed concern over losing funding for rural housing, clean drinking water and small business development under the reorganization plan.

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White House Proposal to Cut SNAP Funding Draws Fire from Rep. DeLauro – Audio

President Trump’s proposal to slash the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program is facing a tough sell in Congress.

Republicans in Congress are eyeing cuts to the program, but none as large as what Trump has proposed.

Many Democrats oppose changes to the program, which now serves 44 million people and cost $70 billion dollars last year.

During a Wednesday hearing of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, Rural Development, Food and Drug Administration hearing, California 3rd District Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro voiced her concerns about the President’s proposal to recently-confirmed USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue.

DeLauro on SNAP Cuts

While a majority of SNAP recipients are in urban areas, there has been an increase in rural areas. Of the 10 states that have the most food stamp recipients, seven went Republican in the 2016 presidential election, according to the Associated Press.

After the White House proposal was released, House Agriculture Chairman Mike Conaway, R-Texas, tweeted that SNAP plays a crucial role in protecting citizens that have fallen on tough times.

Still, Chairman Conaway and Senate Agriculture Chairman Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, have indicated they will support some sort of SNAP overhaul in the next farm bill, due next year.

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Some Producers Are Hoping for Heat in the Weather Forecast – Agronomy Audio

According to Monday’s Crop Progress Report from USDA, corn and soybean planting and emergence on a national scale are running close to the average pace.

USDA estimated 84% of U.S. corn was planted as of Sunday, with soybean planting estimated at 53% complete.

It’s a mixed bag for progress on the Northern Plains.

DEKALB Asgrow Technical Agronomist Jeff Fuls of South Dakota says producers in the southeastern part of the state are definitely facing challenges.

Fuls on the Southeast

Some of the heavier rainfall amounts last week were located in already saturated areas in southeastern South Dakota, and the weather forecast looks a bit “hit and miss.”

Fuls on the Forecast

Corn emergence in South Dakota is estimated at 47%, near 43% average, and soybean emergence is at 11%. In North Dakota, corn emergence is pegged at 38%, with soybeans at 10%.

Weeds are beginning to flourish, too, and Fuls says that’s another challenge in a disruptive planting season.

Fuls on Early Weed Pressures

It’s been a mixed bag for crop progress in Minnesota, too. According to yesterday’s crop report, spring wheat emergence was eight days ahead of the five-year average.  Oat emergence is 12 days behind last year.

Temperatures across North Dakota last week average 2 to 6 degrees below normal across most of the state, and daytime highs in South Dakota were 15 to 20 degrees below normal for many locations, according to yesterday afternoon’s report.

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