June 21, 2018

Budget- USDA; Farm Bill Issues; Ag Economy; Regulations; and Trade

Budget- USDA

Richard Wolf reported yesterday at USA Today Online that, “The soaring national debt has reached a symbolic tipping point: It’s now as big as the entire U.S. economy.

“The amount of money the federal government owes to its creditors, combined with IOUs to government retirement and other programs, now tops $15.23 trillion.

That’s roughly equal to the value of all goods and services the U.S. economy produces in one year: $15.17 trillion as of September, the latest estimate. Private projections show the economy likely grew to about $15.3 trillion by December — a level the debt is likely to surpass this month.”

And more specifically with respect to agriculture, Reuters writer Charles Abbott reported yesterday that, “The U.S. Agriculture Department plans to close 249 offices this year — half of them the local ‘county office’ that deals with farmers — in a cost-cutting program, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on Monday.

“USDA says the package will save $150 million a year and help reduce the yawning federal deficit. Vilsack announced the closures in a speech to the annual meeting of the 6 million-member American Farm Bureau Federation.

“Some 7,000 USDA employees have accepted early retirement in the past 15 months ‘and that number is sure to grow as this year progresses,’ said Vilsack. USDA had roughly 104,000 employees last year.”