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AgMag BLOG

Feeding your mind, saving the planet >>

The Ryan Budget

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The chairman of the House Budget Committee Chairman, Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), is proposing to cut $5 billion a year from the farm subsidies commonly referred to as “direct payments” and an additional $30 billion over 10 years from the heavily subsidized federal crop insurance programs.

At a time of record farm income, the House Republican budget plan released today does take a small step toward a more equitable and sensible safety net for American farmers. However, the GOP proposal would also slash vital food assistance for millions of struggling families and increase the financial burden on cash-strapped states that would take over the federal nutrition program.

Two researchers from the Center for American Progress released an analysis yesterday on the adverse economic impact of cutting the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (previously known as food stamps). In part they found:

The program also plays an important role in sustaining demand for groceries provided by businesses in communities around the country. Our analysis presented in this paper finds that each $1 billion spent by recipients enables nearly 14,000 Americans to find or keep their jobs. That means approximately 1 million workers were employed last year because of this program.

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Table Scraps

-       The Columbus Dispatch’s Dave Golowenski reports that hunters and anglers are increasingly alarmed about Congress’s woeful actions on conservation and environmental policy. In February, EWG launched an ad campaign on the Field and Stream and Grist websites aimed at raising awareness of the threatened conservation cuts.

-       The Center for Environmental Health’s blog has a good read on agriculture’s increasing reliance on outdated and harmful pesticides. Proponents of genetic modification of crops like to characterize the critics as anti-technology, even as the spread of some GMO crops is driving some users of weed control chemicals back to the dark days of DDT.

-       The Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Josephine Marcotty writes about a study that links GMO corn and soybeans to the decline of butterflies.

-       The New York Times examines how the environmental costs associated with natural gas extraction could affect the US Department of Agriculture’s loan programs. As more farmers worry about the threat that fracking poses to their livelihoods and health, will agriculture begin to call louder for regulation?

Tweet of the day:

[email protected] Will a crop insurance-heavy 2012 Farm Bill benefit Big Ag any less than the last one? These maps say no: http://t.co/cG6nLZMH

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