No matter what country our agriculture system is at the heart of all societies. Our agriculture has played a very important role throughout history. In the United States our agriculture system isn’t just down south but it is all over. With all the budget cuts and elimination of programs under Republicans I have taken a look at how our Univesity and Colleges are affected. It is indeed apparent the House Republicans cuts have affected the funding for our agricultural schools and the agricultural programs in our colleges and university. I guess as usual little credit is given to the less elite and the average american. This time being House Republicans failing to give credit to our high school and college students who have helped advanced agriculture in the United States. From New York California, to Florida across the sea board in each region of the United States we are producing the goods that Americans want. It is the foremost and easy to find American made product that you are going to find. Unlike today and over a century ago we have to worry about the quality of both, and when we all should be worried there are those who rather for the sake of ideology get rid of regulations on Corporations.
In-spite some Democrats trying to address the issue of the Farm Bill during the Debt Ceiling talks the issue was not addressed. The Farm Bill was not address during the debt ceiling talks and according to some Republicans the Farm Bill is set to be discussed when it is set to expire in September 30,2012.
Before the debt ceiling was finally raised Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack made the following statement saying “I think, frankly, many farmers understand and appreciate that there has to be change,” Vilsack said in an interview Monday.
Vilsack is the former governor of Iowa farmer where farming serves a major part of the community.
“The payments have become a staple of the American farm business, and powerful members of Congress have long sought to protect them, particularly from fiscal conservatives in the Republican Party”
There is a reason why appropriate money a head of time and inspite the fact there is this belief of some in Congress that they can wait to the espiration o the bill according to some members of Congress if the Farm Bill is not addressed now than farm programs will be effected.
In another videoconference to the group Aug. 2, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., confirmed that the debt ceiling-deficit reduction bill will not cut farm subsidies in the short run, but said that if the congressional joint super committee does not come up with a deficit reduction proposal by December, automatic triggers will affect farm programs.
“Agriculture spending is not included in the first stage, but if there is a sequestration agriculture would be included because those cuts would be across the board,” Conrad said.
This year 2012 while both the President and the House Republicans made proposed cuts in the farm bill there is a significant differece. Republicans plans cuts would significantly make cuts in the agriculture bill that would impact research and cut funding to our schools that are involved in agriculture research. Also unlike the president the Republicans chose more cuts rather than cut farm subsidies. In tough economic times calls for responsible cuts to things in a program or programs that maybe redundant with wasteful spending, and when some programs can be juggled around so that success can still be achieved. From Republicans all appearance the Republican tax cuts as usual allows those wealthy farmers to keep their benefits while programs involving the average citizens and schools face funding cuts.
While the President and house Republicans proposed cuts to Incentives Program like the Wildlife Habitat Incentives, etc, etc, etc. along with cuts subsidies to farmers; the President’s plan would not propose any cuts to the Conservation Reserve Program (CRP), Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program, the Chesapeake Bay Program, or the Agriculture Water Enhancement Program.
The President’s budget reprises another proposal from last year’s submission to Congress — a reduction in the per-farm cap on commodity program direct payments from $80,000 a year to $60,000 a year (per married couple). It also again proposes to reduce the Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) needs-test cap for commodity benefits from $500,000 to $250,000 a year for non-farm investors (double for married couples) and, for direct payments only, from $750,00 to $500,000 for farmer (double for married couples).
The Obama proposal again requests Congress to appropriate $35 million for the USDA portion of the proposed new Healthy Food Financing Initiative. It also includes a $2 million request for Farm to School Tactical Teams to provide technical assistance to school systems. Funding for the Farmers Market Nutrition Program would continue at the long-static level of $20 million under the President’s proposal.
The President’s budget for USDA also proposes to fund the Organic Transitions research program and the ATTRA or Natioanl Sustainable Agriculture Information Service at their current levels of $5 million and $2.8 million respectively. For the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative, the largest of the research competitive grants programs, the budget request ($325 million) is over a hundred million dollars less than proposed a year ago, but still a 24 percent increase over current levels ($263 million).
According to this Article on sustainable agriculture coalition
Agricultural Research with a Republican bill.
The Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education (SARE) competitive grants program would be funded at the 2010 level of $19 million rather than at the $30 million level called for in President Obama’s budget request. The larger Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) competitive program would be cut by 13 percent or $35 million to $228 million in the House bill.
Funding to actually run the agency (NIFA), however, would take a huge 75 percent cut in the pending bill, raising the pertinent question of how any of the programs would actually be managed and implemented with staff cuts of that magnitude.
Programs in the “integrated” category, meaning the combine research, education and extension in a single streamlined delivery system, take a particularly hard hit under the proposed bill. The water quality program gets shaved by 13 percent or $1.7 million, but many others would be terminated altogether, including the aforementioned Organic Transitions, Regional Rural Development Centers, and National Integrated Food Safety Initiative, as well as Food Quality Protection Act risk mitigation program, the methyl bromide transitions program, and international science and education grants.
Federal research conducted by the Agricultural Research Service would be cut by 10 percent of $115 million. Where precisely those cuts would come from are not detailed.
In a response to the House proposal, Senate Appropriations Chair Daniel Inouye (D-HI) said: “It is clear from this proposal that House Republicans are committed to pursuing an ineffective approach to deficit reduction that attempts to balance the budget on the back of domestic discretionary investments, which constitute only a small percentage of overall federal spending. The priorities identified in this proposal for some of the largest cuts—environmental protection, health care, energy, science, and law enforcement—are essential to the current and future well-being of our economy and communities across the country.”
Just last week August 2011, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) joined together to create rural drinking water and wastewater systems.
“EPA and USDA have joined forces to leverage our expertise and resources to improve drinking water and wastewater systems in small towns across the country,” said Nancy Stoner, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Water. “A critical part of this agreement is to ensure that we have a well trained, professional workforce available to replace workers when they leave or retire.”
“The agreement we are announcing today represents an exciting partnership between USDA and EPA that will greatly enhance our investments in water systems and also in developing a skilled workforce to oversee them,” said Jonathan Adelstein, administrator for USDA’s Rural Utilities Service. “By working together, our agencies will strengthen their capacity to provide rural residents with safe, clean, well-managed water and wastewater systems for years to come.”
The EPA and USDA agree that them combining in an effort to make our water safes would create more jobs. President Obama would also echo those same sentiments about increasing jobs this week. In June President Obama created the first White House Rural Council. You would think it was that simple, but unfortunately we continue running into Republicans and corporations such as your gas and oil companies that would prefer rolling back regulations.
The statement below from the College of Charleston’s website on its agriculture program, I believe is probably the sentiment and belief from other colleges and universities. I did not mention High schools, but even in our high schools agriculture programs have served a great purpose from the surrounding community.
On the College of Charleston website it says the following:
As the field of environmental studies has expanded, so has our understanding of the complexity of environmental issues. Many different concerns, including those of the public, private industry, and the scientific community must be balanced to approach the environmental concerns facing our society today. In training students to handle the challenges posed by a career in the environmental field, experts have found that an interdisciplinary course of study offers the most comprehensive preparation.
Through out the country the agricultural departments are being faced with deep cuts and as usual Republicans are refusing to look at subsidies for those that don’t need them.