GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – The farming community got a bit of a shock this week when the White House budget was unveiled.
It included deep cuts to agriculture safety net programs.
Congressman Roger Marshall represents the first district and is on the agriculture committee.
“It was very disappointing to see those cuts,” he said.
Marshall applauded the budget overall but has major issues with cuts to crop insurance.
“Of all the things that’s important for the federal government to invest in,” he said, “crop insurance is next to military and national security. Crop insurance be right there on the next line.”
With low grain prices, farmers have been working in the red for years.
“If there’s ever a year that proves how much we do need it,” he said, “a year when we’ve had prairie fire followed by now tornado and hail and the virus.”
Wheat streak mosaic virus will likely continue to impact wheat crops for years to come. Despite this constant threat to crops, Marshall said he’s not willing to commit to voting against a bill that would cut crop insurance.
“I can’t back myself into a corner. I think that I’ll be fighting very hard both on the Ag committee as well as in the Republican caucus on the House floor to make sure we have adequate funding for agriculture.”
While the proposed budget outlines the President’s vision, Congress will likely make major changes before voting.
“I think we’re going to have to do some very, quite a bit of tweaking and re-prioritize some of these dollars.”
He said his ideal bill would maintain current funding levels for crop insurance: no more, no less.
“That would be my goal is to hold it steady and to make sure we prioritize the agriculture dollars towards that.”
The proposed budget calls for a 36 percent cut to federal crop insurance subsidies. That’s about $29 billion over the next 10 years.