Say “Goodbye” to ACRE and Direct Payments?


Late last week, Senator Dick Lugar and Representative Marlin Stutzman, both of Indiana, introduced a piece of legislation that targets $40 billion in cuts to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  The bill is called the Rural Economic Farm and Ranch Sustainability and Hunger Act or REFRESH.

Roughly two-thirds of the cuts would come from farm and conservation programs and a third from nutrition programs.  Those nutrition programs represent three-fourths of the USDA budget.

Under the bill, funding for farm programs would be cut 16-billion dollars, a 24.5{fe867fa2be02a5a45e8bbb747b653fe2e9d0331fd056b85cd0c1a3542435a96e} reduction. Conservation programs would be updated and streamlined for a savings of 11.3-billion, a 17.6{fe867fa2be02a5a45e8bbb747b653fe2e9d0331fd056b85cd0c1a3542435a96e} reduction. And nutrition program eligibility loopholes would be closed saving 13.9-billion, only a 2{fe867fa2be02a5a45e8bbb747b653fe2e9d0331fd056b85cd0c1a3542435a96e} reduction.

On Monday, Northern Ag Network spoke with Andy Fisher, a spokesperson for Senator Lugar.

He says Senator Lugar has been working on this legislation for a decade and it is now gaining much more support from commodity groups.

The Lugar proposal would end direct payments, countercyclical payments, the ACRE program and the marketing assistance loan and loan deficiency payments.

He explained what they would be replaced with.

Fisher says that when this legislation was first introduced in 1992, there was not a lot of monetary research done on the plan.  However, he says that many groups have put pencil to paper in the last 5 years and determined that this was going to be a good program for a number of commodities and that it was going to save the federal government money.

Along with cuts to farm and conservation programs, there are cuts that will come in “closing loopholes” on nutrition programs.

Fisher identified some of those nutrition program loopholes.

To see the full Rural Economic Farm and Ranch Sustainability and Hunger Act, CLICK HERE.

© Northern Ag Network 2011

Haylie Shipp


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