Tax bill could cause automatic cuts to farm programs

Automatic budget cuts would hit farm programs

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) — The Congressional Budget Office crunched the numbers and found both the House and Senate versions of the tax bill would add roughly $1.5 trillion to the deficit.

That amount would force automatic budget cuts to kick in.

Crop insurance is exempt from these cuts, but it would hit two programs that help farmers when grain prices are low, like they have been recently.

Agriculture Risk Coverage and Price Loss Coverage help farmers like Kyler Millershaski.

“To lose that safety net wouldn’t be an exciting thing for farmers,” he said. “It would definitely make things tougher. I can’t even think what would happen if we lose that safety net.”

Some big-ticket programs like Social Security are exempt. According to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office, that leaves only about $90 billion in programs that can be trimmed out of $136 billion that would need to be reduced each year.

These safety net programs for farmers would be cut.

“We’ll just cross that bridge when we get there,” said Millershaski, who said he’s keeping a positive outlook. “Kansas farmers, we’re tough, we’re resilient, we’ll figure out a way to work those out.”

Farmers across the country would feel this to varying degrees.

“It would vary entirely on region, types of crop, dryland, irrigation, you would actually probably have to run numbers on every farm,” said Millershaski.

KSN spoke with Congressman Roger Marshall about the tax bill that he voted for.

“First and foremost, we wanted to make sure we had relief for middle income America,” said Marshall, “for the hardworking taxpayers of America, and I think this bill accomplished just that.”

What’s unknown is what affect that tax bill might have on the farming community.

A spokesperson for Marshall says his office is looking into these possible cuts but that preserving ag safety nets is a priority.