October 27, 2015
October 27, 2015, Washington, DC – The following are comments from Ferd Hoefner, Policy Director, on the fiscal year 2016 budget deal struck this week.
“We are pleased that a budget bargain has been struck, providing impetus to finish the work of funding the government for the fiscal year that has already begun.
Two things are critical in terms of the farm bill. First, the agreement includes a reversal of an outrageous 2014 Farm Bill provision that prevents taxpayers from benefiting from government negotiations with the private sector with regard to the delivery of crop insurance. That provision was classic special interest overreach and deserves to be scrapped. While there is a great deal more crop insurance subsidy reform needed to support family farms and the environment, renegotiation is a small but not inconsequential first step toward much needed comprehensive reform.
Second, with the additional funding the budget deal provides to the appropriators to finish the fiscal year 2016 funding bills, they should move quickly to eliminate the huge cuts to the farm bill’s conservation programs by striking the 23 percent cut to the Conservation Stewardship Program in the pending House bill and the over $300 million cut to the Environmental Quality Incentives Program in both the pending House and Senate bills. These shortsighted cuts severely limit the capacity of farmers and ranchers to improve soil and water quality, protect pollinators and habitat, conserve water, and prepare for extreme weather events.”
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