Tricia Braid

Mar 04, 2013  |  Today's News

U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack addressed farmers at last week’s Commodity Classic meeting between the two sessions of the National Corn Growers Association’s Corn Congress. One of his messages? The sequestration cuts to his budget are actually twice as big as you might have thought. 

Because we’re already roughly half-way through the budget year, the mandatory spending cuts actually end up taking about twice as much out of what’s left of the budgets. Vilsack explained that that, for example, 87% of the budget for the Food Safety and Inspection Service is payroll for inspectors. That means FSIS inspectors could face up to 22 days of furloughs.

Here’s a round-up of current comments and observations of the expected impact on the USDA budget.

· According to the OMB, commodity programs and disaster spending will face $329 million and $70 million in cuts, respectively.

· The Women, Infants and Children program, or WIC, will take a $333 million cut.

· Budget cuts could disrupt and cut agriculture by as much as $8 billion, affecting as many as 60,000 jobs.

· Land grant universities will be informed that they will receive about $60 million less in research funds than they expected this year.

· Crop insurance indemnity payments WILL NOT be impacted.