In the coming days, we’re going to have a serious national discussion about the soulless, inhumane cuts that the Trump budget will impose on children, the elderly, sick, and disabled in this country, but today I want to draw attention to a part of the budget proposal that affects a part of Montana too often overlooked: the agriculture producers who feed our nation and drive our state’s economy.
The Trump budget, released on Tuesday, will slash rural development programs, crop insurance, and conservation programs. ThinkProgress reports:
The budget proposes an almost 21 percent cut to the USDA, the third-largest percentage cut proposed for any agency, behind the Environmental Protection Agency and the State Department. It would cut crop insurance?—?which pays farmers for losses due to extreme weather, or compensates farmers for loss if prices are higher than guaranteed at the time of harvest?—?by 36 percent, far deeper cuts than were proposed under the Obama administration. And it proposes to “streamline” conservation programs, while eliminating the rural development program aimed at bringing infrastructure, technology, and utilities to rural communities.
Following a list of all the programs that the Trump budget slashes, Ag Daily reports that even Republicans are upset about the Trump proposal:
House Agriculture Committee Chairman K. Michael Conaway (TX-11) told Fox News: “We think it’s wrongheaded,” about the looming cuts to farm programs. “Production agriculture is in the worst slump since the depression — 50 percent drop in the net income for producers. They need this safety net.”
There are 27,500 farms and ranches in Montana with a $4.6 billion annual impact on our state’s economy. It’s the state’s largest industry and one that depends on strong programs like crop insurance to ensure that producers are protected from threats from drought to disaster.
There’s little doubt that Greg Gianforte would vote to support the Trump budget, as he has locked this candidacy to the Trump agenda, promising from one day to prevent Democrats from slowing the “Trump Train.” The New York Times (and anyone who’s watched this race) sees that Gianforte is aligning himself with Trump and not the voters of our state:
Mr. Gianforte billed himself as a Trump acolyte who will repeal Obamacare, slash spending and open development on the state’s public lands. Mr. Quist said he would fight to protect health insurance, encourage student debt forgiveness and keep drillers off federal acres.
This train will devastate the economy of Montana and the small communities who make agriculture possible. While Greg Gianforte likes to dress up in a cowboy hat and take massive tax breaks for pretending to be a farmer, real agriculture producers should know that Trump and Gianforte will bring the largest cuts to agriculture subsidies and insurance programs since Ronald Reagan was in office.
Those cuts may not harm suburban farmers like Mr. Gianforte, but will prove devastating to the small towns across the state that depend on a robust Department of Agriculture. Perhaps someone should warn voters in Montana’s farming communities that, despite their support for Donald Trump and Greg Gianforte, neither man is looking out for them.