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Senators Discuss President’s Budget Outline- Proposed Cuts to Crop Insurance, GMO Labeling Noted as Concerns

Today, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack discussed the executive branch FY17 USDA budget request at the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture, which is Chaired by Jerry Moran (R., Kans.).

During his opening remarks, Chairman Moran noted that, “I’m disappointed that once again the president’s budget proposes massive cuts to the crop insurance program – even after the grassroots effort by so many last fall successfully reversed a reduction that pales in comparison to the proposals in this year’s budget request.”

In his prepared testimony, Sec. Vilsack noted that, “The 2014 Farm Bill included several reforms to the Federal crop insurance program; however, there remain further opportunities for improvements and efficiencies. The President’s 2017 budget includes two proposals to reform crop insurance, which are expected to save $18 billion over 10 years. This includes reducing subsidies for revenue insurance that insure the price at the time of harvest by 10 percentage points and reforming prevented planting coverage. These reforms will make the program less costly to the taxpayer while still maintaining a quality safety net for farmers.”

During his time for questions, Sen. John Hoeven (R., N.D.) quizzed Sec. Vilsack about the proposed cuts to crop insurance, see video clip below (about three minutes).

The issue of GMO labeling also came up at today’s hearing. Recall that the Senate will likely take up this issue next week, more detailed analysis is available here.

Subcommittee Co-Chairman Jeff Merkley (D., Ore.) briefly brought up this issue today (30 seconds), as did Sen. Steve Daines (R., Mont.) (about three minutes), see respective video clips below.