Johnson: Trump’s budget would hurt rural communities


Details on President Trump’s 2021 budget plan were released recently and, as it has in the past, this administration continues to put forth proposals that undercut rural communities.

Among the proposed cuts we strongly oppose are those to the Conservation Stewardship Program, administered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

This program, authorized by the farm bill, offers invaluable support for farmers and ranchers to build on their existing conservation efforts. The cuts would block an important path they rely on to improve soil health and water quality on their land.

The president is also proposing to eliminate nearly every program operated by the Rural Business and Cooperative Service, including the Rural Micro-Entrepreneur Assistance Program.

We are extremely disappointed, as rural business owners do not always have access to the same financing as their counterparts in suburban and urban areas. As rural banks close and small business loans are few and far between, rural entrepreneurs can benefit greatly from RMAP’s assistance.

On the positive side, the administration proposal includes a plan to close loopholes on payment limits.

The Center for Rural Affairs has advocated for commodity reforms and more stringent payment limits for many years. The goal is to ensure a level playing field for small and mid-size farms and ranches.

The administration already has the authority to enact strong “actively engaged” restrictions on commodity program payments. Additionally, we urge action to tighten loopholes that allow some operations to receive payments of more than $125,000 per operation or $250,000 for a couple farming together.

The Center for Rural Affairs is a private nonprofit working to strengthen small business, family farms and rural communities.


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