Defict plan would cut US farm supports by 10 pct

* Proposal would cut ‘direct payment,’ other crop aid

* Two land stewardship programs cited for cuts

* Plan would extend life of farm disaster-aid fund

WASHINGTON, Dec 1 (BestGrowthStock) – U.S. farm supports would be
cut 10 percent under a proposal made on Wednesday by a
presidential panel on balancing the budget, but the plan would
not force idled cropland back into production.

The commission recommended cuts in agriculture as part of
government-wide belt-tightening to balance the budget.
Commission members planned a vote on the plan on Friday.

Their plan called for a net cut of $10 billion through 2020
in Agriculture Department spending, chiefly in crop subsidy and
land stewardship programs. The average cut of $1.25 billion a
year equals 10 percent of annual farm spending.

While the end result would be a $10 billion cut, the
commission said its initial target was a cut of $15 billion,
with $5 billion reserved to extend the life of a disaster
relief fund.

Commission member Kent Conrad, chairman of the Senate Budget
Committee, was author of the disaster fund in 2008.

The Conservation Reserve, which pays landowners to idle 32
million acres of farm land, was not cited for cuts. Two other
land stewardship programs, the Conservation Stewardship Program
and the Environmental Quality Incentive Program, were listed.

The commission also suggested “reductions in direct payments
when prices exceed the cost of production or other reductions
in subsidies” along with smaller funding for an export
promotion program.

The so-called direct payment is currently the largest farm
support at nearly $5 billion a year. The payments are
guaranteed annually to farmers and are based on past production
of grains, soybeans and cotton.

Some farm groups want to eliminate or reduce spending on the
direct payment in favor of supports triggered by low prices or
poor yields. Growers in the South and Plains like the direct
payment.

“The Agriculture Committees will be responsible for revising
policies to meet their priorities in the upcoming Farm Bill
within the lower baseline recommended by the Commission,” said
the proposal.
(Reporting by Charles Abbott; Editing by David Gregorio)

Defict plan would cut US farm supports by 10 pct