House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) unveiled the House Republican budget proposal for FY2013 today during a speech before the American Enterprise Institute in Washington. Chairman Ryan’s proposal calls for $33.2 billion in cuts to agricultural programs, focusing primarily on direct payments and crop insurance. These cuts, Rep. Ryan proposes, would be reconciled by the House Agriculture Committee. Additionally, the chairman’s budget includes a dramatic transformation of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the food stamp program, which would cut $123 billion from the program and shift it to a state-run block grant program. American Soybean Association (ASA) First Vice President Danny Murphy, a soybean farmer from Canton, Miss., had this to say about Chairman Ryan’s budget proposal:
“ASA is pleased to see a proposal that, through the reconciliation process, may lead to a faster consideration of a potential Farm Bill in the coming months. "The cuts that Chairman Ryan proposes, however, are significantly higher than those agreed upon by House and Senate Agriculture Committee leadership during the Supercommittee process last fall, and that concerns us. Especially worrisome is the Chairman’s emphasis on the federal crop insurance program as an area for reduction. Crop insurance serves as the main safety net for America’s farmers, and its integrity must be protected.
“Chairman Ryan does call for increased development of domestic energy sources, and mentions the potential for nuclear, wind and solar power. ASA applauds this effort and would remind the Chairman of the sustained success of the American biodiesel industry, one that created 50,000 jobs and saw a record production of 1.1 billion gallons last year, and remains the only advanced biofuel currently produced on a commercial scale across the U.S. The biodiesel industry creates jobs, reduces greenhouse gas emissions and bolsters our energy security, all while displacing imported diesel with clean, American-made fuel.
“As an industry, we have long maintained that we are ready and willing to accept our share of cuts, provided that those cuts are proportionate to other industries. We will continue that cooperative spirit in the interest of getting our nation’s fiscal house in order, however we encourage Chairman Ryan to remember that the record farm productivity that he cites in his budget is a direct result of policies that help those farms to grow.”
ASA represents all U.S. soybean farmers on domestic and international issues of importance to the soybean industry. ASA’s advocacy efforts are made possible through the voluntary membership in ASA by over 21,000 farmers in 31 states where soybeans are grown.