Ag Chat with Kristin Smith - Feb 14th

ALTOONA, Wis. (WEAU) -- The White House released its detailed proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2019. And the National Corn Growers Association has some concerns. The budget proposal includes cutting the federal crop insurance program by $22.4 billion over the 2019-2028 period, targeting program subsidies to those producers that have an Adjusted Gross Income of $500,000 or less for a savings of $3 billion over the 2019-2028 period and reducing underwriting subsidies to participating insurance companies by placing a cap on underwriting gains at 12 percent or $3 billion over the 2019-2028 period. The NCGA said in a statement that there is a time and place to debate farm bill programs and that is during the farm bill reauthorization, not the annual budget process. The farm bill represents a 5-year commitment to America's farmers and ranchers, which Congress made in 2014, and is preparing to reauthorize again this year. And they are urging Congress to honor the commitment they made to rural America when they reauthorized the farm bill in 2014.

As part of a mammoth package envisioned by the Trump administration, the nation's governors would be given $50 billion in block grants to help finance rural projects such as expansion of broadband service. The block grant funding would be available on a more rapid basis than the rest of the $200 billion in federal funding that would be provided for improvements nationwide for all types of public works. Overall, the Trump administration projects the federal funds will stimulate $1.5 trillion in infrastructure spending. The House and Senate Agriculture committees would share control with a handful of other congressional committees over the package. The White House said it would use a "one agency, one decision" approach in which a lead agency would corral the necessary federal reviews.

As the 2018 crop production season begins, the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service will be contacting producers nationwide to determine their plans for the upcoming growing season. The USDA will mail the survey questionnaire in February, asking producers to provide information about the types of crops they intend to plant in 2018, how many acres they intend to plant and the amounts of grain and oilseed they store on their farms. NASS encourages producers to respond online or by mail. Those producers who do not respond by the deadline may be contacted for a telephone or personal interview. Survey results will be published in the Prospective Plantings and quarterly Grain Stocks report to be released on March 29, 2018.

Cooperatives Working Together has accepted 4 more requests for export assistance to sell 1.2 million pounds of Cheddar cheese to customers in Asia and the Middle East. The product has been contracted for delivery from now through May 2018. For the year, CWT has assisted in exporting a total of 13.9 million pounds of American-type cheeses to 11 countries on three continents.

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