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March 6, 2014

First Step in Budget Process Complete

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

President Barack Obama released his proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2015 on Tuesday. The proposal includes a 23.7 billion dollar budget for the Agriculture Department. American Farm Bureau Federation budget specialist RJ Karney says that’s a reduction of just under 1 billion dollars from Fiscal Year 2014. Seanica Otterby has the story.
OtterbyFarm Bureau budget specialist RJ Karney says one positive for agriculture in the proposed federal budget for fiscal 2015 is the importance President Obama placed on rural development, specifically with access to broadband loans and grants. Karney says broadband access is critical for farmers and ranchers.
KarneyThere was an increase in broadband loans and grants that will be critical for farmers and ranchers to grow their small business operations. Right now, according to USDA, only 67 percent of farmers and ranchers have access to the Internet, and we need to see that increase significantly.
OtterbyEspecially with the proposal to close more Farm Service Agency offices. That’s one negative Karney sees in the proposed budget. He says another negative is the nearly 14 billion dollar reduction in the federal crop insurance program.
KarneyWhat USDA needs to focus on is the implementation of the recently signed farm bill. And that’s a big component that USDA needs to ensure is properly implemented. That’s where our focus will be for 2014.
OtterbyKarney says the proposed budget is just the first step in the budget process. Now it’s up to Congress to complete the appropriations process. Seanica Otterby, Washington.

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