The Iowa Corn Growers have questions about the administration’s new federal budget unveiled this week. The president warned there’d be cuts, but Corn Growers spokesman Tade Sullivan says farmers think they’re feeling it more than others. Depending on the analysis, he says Bush’s proposed cuts to ag programs range from a 9.6 to a 12 percent cut over the next few years. The Corn Growers think even if budget cuts are necessary, farming shouldn’t suffer a disproportionate share. Sullivan says farm spending currently amounts to less than one-percent of the federal budget. The whole US budget’s about 2.7 Trillion dollars, and ag spending’s around 19-Million. He says that’s a small percentage of the federal budget. Sullivan says farm payments to producers are one area proposed for cuts. He says Bush proposes to take farmers’ direct payments, counter-cyclical payments which kick in when prices are bad, and other assistance, and plans to “take five percent off the top,” without accounting for cuts that may come to new programs or discretionary spending. He adds that ag’s the only area that’s already had a freeze on discretionary spending for the last two years…things from farm programs to conservation, food and nutrition — anything not directly tied to the Commodity Credit Corporation. The current Farm Bill expires in 2007, and Sullvian says the Bush administration shouldn’t be “redoing the farm bill in a budget bill,” but should wait until it’s time for the reauthorization process to make changes. Sullivan made his comments from Washington.
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