Farm Bill Proposal Would Save $40 Billion

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Lugar-Stutzman bill would eliminate several farm programs.

Senator Dick Lugar, R-Ind., and Representative Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., have introduced the Rural Economic Farm and Ranch Sustainability and Hunger Act or REFRESH. The bill targets $40 billion in USDA cuts to help meet federal deficit reduction goals. Roughly two-thirds of the savings would come from farm and conservation programs, and a third from nutrition programs, which represent three-fourths of the USDA budget.

Under the bill, funding for farm programs would be cut $16 billion, a 24.5% reduction. Conservation programs would be updated and streamlined for a savings of $11.3 billion, a 17.6% reduction. And nutrition program eligibility loopholes would be closed saving $13.9 billion, only a 2% reduction.

The Lugar-Stutzman bill would end current farm programs including direct payments to farmers, counter-cyclical payments, the ACRE program and marketing assistance/loan deficiency payments. The REFRESH bill would establish an aggregate risk and revenue management program that allows producers to protect between 90% and 75% of their expected crop revenue. All farmers would be able to purchase supplemental revenue insurance that is underwritten by the USDA Risk Management Agency.

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