Trump eyes cuts to USDA, FDA cash this fiscal year

By Ed Zwirn

(originally published in just-food on March 29, 2017)

Trump has set out cuts to budgets he wants to see in current fiscal year

Donald Trump has set out cuts he wants the US Congress to make on the budgets of the US Department of Agriculture and the US Food and Drug Administration in the remaining months of the current fiscal period.

The proposals for the last five months of the financial year ­ which runs until 30 September ­ would come on top of the Trump administration’s budget proposals for the 2018 financial year. Earlier this month, President Trump set out plans to cut the discretionary spending at the USDA by over a fifth, prompting criticism from the industry and lawmakers from the Democrat and Republican Parties.

US politicians must agree on a spending package by 28 April to prevent a government shutdown and the Trump administration has outlined what it wants to see from the deal.

In total, budgets for food programmes and policies within the US should be cut by US$1bn for the remainder of the current financial year, the administration has proposed.

The reductions would include $40m from the FDA budget, a move the administration says could be accomplished in part by slower-than-­anticipated hiring.

Trump wants to see $363m cut from the Office of Food for Peace, a 60 ­year old programme administered by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) that is designed to help feed billions of people in developing countries.

In addition, his proposals would cut $136m from the McGovern–Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Program, essentially eliminating the initiative, which feeds schoolchildren throughout the world. “This program lacks evidence that it is being effectively implemented to reduce food insecurity,” the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) argued.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration wants a USD49 million cut to USDA’s Rural Business and Cooperative Grant programme for farmers, which “despite decades of funding, “the administration argues, “have failed to move the dial in rural areas.”


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About Ed Zwirn

Ed Zwirn is a journalist/editorial professional with a focus on financial trends and practices. He lives out in the woods in Bethel, NY, not far from where the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival was held in 1969. As a financial writer, his work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, CFO Magazine and news services including Dow Jones Newswires and Informa Global Markets. Ed also spent three years in Ukraine, where he ran an English-language news service. He now divides his time between his freelance journalism, song and poetry writing, and barbequing and lawn-mowing on his 2.5 acre property.

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