Ag Singled Out for Budget Cuts

With the floodwaters rising and the nation’s attention focused on the looming Midwest destruction, government officials asked me to make an enormous sacrifice.

They needed my farmland to extend and build up a levee to hold back an unprecedented wall of water. If I said yes, it would save millions of dollars for businesses, homes and possibly lives in Hamburg, Iowa.

Sacrificing my farm was an easy decision. It was the right thing to do.

Stepping up is nothing new for agriculture. With a rising tide of debt caused by runaway spending flooding our country, agriculture stood alone in offering up cuts to its policies to help get the country back on track.

All told, more than $15 billion in spending was sacrificed. It came mostly from the crop insurance system that, ironically, is in place to guard against things like floods.

Farmers and ranchers didn’t whine about these cuts. Blessed with generally decent prices and production, we swallowed hard and accepted them, crossing our fingers that the bottom didn’t fall out of the farm economy.

But like the old saying goes: No good deed goes unpunished. Despite being one of the only industries to answer the budget bell for the country’s betterment, farmers are again in cutters’ sights.

This past week, President Barack Obama unveiled a plan to hack another $8 billion out of crop insurance, and even more out of other policies in place, to help provide stability to the men and women who deal with unforeseeable weather and market-related risks every day.

Author: Mike Woltemath, a fourth-generation farmer grower who owns a farm adjacent to the Hamburg levee in Iowa.