Expect Ag Funding Cuts in Bush's Budget Proposal

Informa analyst anticipates administration to ask for lower crop loan rates and CCP by capping the quantify of commodities that can qualify for loan rate protection.

It's bleeding red in Washington, D.C. these days. Pressure for agriculture to "do its part" in curtailing federal spending has come to the forefront this week with the anticipation of President Bush's 2006 budget proposal.

Informa Economics Inc. (formerly Sparks Companies) analyst Jim Wiesemeyer says that he expects President Bush to "propose lowering crop loan rates and countercyclical payments by capping the quantity of commodities that can qualify for loan rate protection," Jerry Hagstrom reports in the CongressDaily.

Wiesemeyer says the administration hopes to save $15 billion per year in cuts. Bush made a promise to renew the Milk Income Loss Contract program, although his budget will provide funding at a lower level and tighten eligibility provisions through payment limits.

Agriculture, conservation and risk management associations have joined forces in hopes of preventing Congress from slashing 2002 farm bill programs before 2007. In comments to National Cotton Council annual meeting attendees, Senate Appropriations Chairman and former Agriculture Committee Chairman Thad Cochran, R-Miss., warns that growers are going to see pressure on mandated programs.

Ag groups and farm legislators say the farm bill should stay closed for producers' planning purposes and to maintain the United States' negotiating power in World Trade Organization discussions.

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