Pingree Questions USDA Secretary Perdue’s Support for Cuts in FY19 USDA Budget, Farm Bill
WASHINGTON, DC—Today, USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue appeared before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Agriculture where Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) pressed him on his support for the 2018 Farm Bill draft and FY 2019 USDA budget. Pingree said she was “troubled” by his support for both proposals which gut funding or drastically restructure rural development, organic farming, and low-income food assistance programs.
Pingree said USDA organic programs help to attract new and creative farmers, particularly millennials, to rural states like Maine and proposed cuts would be detrimental to the growth of the organic market. Pingree noted that organics are now a nearly $50 billion market made possible by federal investments in organic agriculture. Perdue said organic farms are increasing and it’s important to let them mature, but stopped short of saying he would champion future federal investment via the USDA budget or farm bill.
Today, as the House Committee on Agriculture began to mark up the 2018 farm bill, Pingree outlined her opposition to the draft bill in an op-ed published by Civil Eats. From drastic SNAP changes to conservation program cuts, Pingree said the bill draft has a lot of shortcomings and would be detrimental to Mainers who use these important programs.