We appreciate the administration providing a basic roadmap for spending priorities in the 2018 budget blueprint, in which the President shows continued opposition to EPA regulations that have caused great expense in time and money for our farmers without improving water quality. We applaud his strengthened support for our military men and women. However, we are concerned with the suggested deep cuts to the budget of the US Department of Agriculture, which houses rural and agricultural services vital to all Americans.
Since the beginning of this decade, net farm income has been in free fall, down about 50 percent in only four years. America’s food system begins with farm families who struggle to make a living wage while caring for their land and animals. We urge Congress to remember this when they are creating the final 2018 budget and stand in support of our farmers and ranchers and through them the people of the world who rely on them for sustenance.
When members of Congress meet with the farmers and ranchers of their districts – those who may have thousands of acres or only two or three – they know that those involved in agriculture are exceptionally generous and have sustained large budget cuts in the past, but can only bear so many losses. We have faith that Congress can work for the good of all people, who as consumers are each a part of the agricultural system, based on its past efforts that have netted significant savings while strengthening essential programs that support producers.
I am proud that for 150 years the Grange has been the advocate of agriculture and rural Americans, but I am most proud that the Grange has always lobbied with perspective. We understand the need for deficit reduction and accountability in government spending of taxpayer dollars. We will continue to work with those in the administration and Congress to ensure our food system’s security and affordability by retaining and reinforcing necessary programs and security nets such as funding for conservation efforts and crop insurance. And we will continue to advocate for important USDA programs for rural Americans such as rural broadband internet infrastructure support and rural development programs.
President of the National Grange