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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Federal Budget Just Got A Lot Less Tasty

House Republicans have begun to pass a budget that includes serious cuts to some food-related organizations.

Capitol Building

Photo: Crazy George (flickr)

Other areas that felt funding cuts include dairy subsidies, rural economic development programs, and foreign food assistance programs.

House Republicans, led by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), have begun to pass a budget that includes serious cuts to some food-related organizations, but it’s still unclear how (or if) these cuts will end up going into effect.

Here’s how food fared overall in Ryan’s plan:

$2.6 Billion In Cuts To The USDA

Some of the most drastic cuts in the entirety of the budget can be found here.  For example, the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC), which helps to get healthy food to low-income mothers and families, will see $504 million in cuts. Agriculture credit insurance, research agencies and rural development programs will also see their funding slashed.

However, there may be a way to make up some of that money immediately. According to Reuters, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said that by eliminating reserve funding, or money the organizations have saved up for the future but didn’t plan on using this year, they can make up most of the shortfall.

Farm Subsidy Cuts

A subcategory of the USDA cuts, Vilsack said it’s likely that farm subsidies will face serious cuts as the budget continues to be worked out. Rep. Ryan has proposed a budget plan that includes a plan to reduce farm subsidies by $30 billion over the next 10 years.

Direct payments may face the strictest scrutiny: those are the payments that farmers get regardless of what or how much they grow in a given year and can be manipulated into hundreds of thousands of dollars in income.

Impending Cuts For Food Stamps

In 1996, Republicans proposed a welfare reform bill that included significant cuts to welfare programs like food stamps, and we may be seeing it again in 2011. In addition to the previously mentioned cuts to WIC, the budget proposal includes a redistribution of money for the food stamps program, just one of the welfare programs that might face tightening or elimination as the budget process continues.

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Carrie Schedler

Carrie Schedler is a senior at Indiana University studying journalism, English and French. She's originally from Columbus, Ohio, and still dreams often about salty caramel ice cream from Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams and baguettes from her semester abroad in Paris. Hopefully, she'll learn how to cook eventually.

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