The Obama administration isn't giving up on its proposals to cut farm subsidies, even if they have been rejected on Capitol Hill.
The budget the White House released Thursday includes the administration's idea of phasing out fixed payments to farmers who have more than $500,000 in sales. That and other cuts are included in a 131-page book outlining proposals to reduce spending by $17 billion in 2010.
Farm groups roundly criticized the proposal when it first was offered in February, arguing that the $500,000 threshold would catch the typical full-time producer.
The president's budget also includes a proposed $250,000 cap on the subsidies one person could collect in a year. There also are proposals to reduce subsidies for crop insurance and eliminate payments for cotton storage.
According to the White House, the largest proposals would save the following amounts over five years: $3.7 billion by phasing out direct payments to farmers with $500,000 in sales; $2.1 billion by reducing crop insurance costs; $279 million by ending cotton storage payments; $158 million by reducing overseas marketing assistance by 20 percent; and $108 million by capping crop subsidies at $250,000 per farmer.
A few other proposals would likely generate less opposition but wouldn't save as much. One idea would save $62 million in lease costs over a 15-year period by consolidating some of the agriculture department office space in Washington. Another would save $670,500 a year by consolidating the department's utility bills via a Web payment system instead of wasting staff time and postage with paper checks to a central office.
Details on the budget's sheep specific programs will be available in the near future and can be obtained from the staff at your congressional offices.
Reprinted in part from the Des Moines Register