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 and authorized by the farm bill. This program offers invaluable support for farmers and ranchers to build on their existing conservation efforts and the cuts would block an important path they rely on to improve their soil health and water quality.
The President is also proposing to eliminate nearly every program under the Rural Business and Cooperative Service, including the Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP). 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.
Finally, the proposal states a plan to close loopholes on payment limits. The Center for Rural Affairs has advocated for commodity reforms and strong payment limits for many years to ensure a level playing field for small and mid-size farms and ranches.
The administration has the authority to enact strong “actively engaged” restrictions on commodity program payments and we urge them to take action to tighten loopholes that allow some operations to receive payments over $125,000 per producer and $250,000 for married producers.