A broad coalition of 218 farm, rural, hunger-relief and agribusiness groups joined to together in sending a letter outlining the importance of agricultural program funding and urging the Senate and House budget committees to preserve funding for USDA programs.

The letter urged the committees to preserve the agriculture budget for mandatory and discretionary programs by not including “any reconciliation instructions in the budget resolution to the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry.”

The letter notes that the 2002 farm bill was enacted three years ago “and represents a delicate balance by effectively addressing the stability of our agricultural production base, protecting our important natural resources, enhancing nutrition and food assistance programs in our nation and providing adequate research funding for our future.”

The letter explains the mandatory programs administered by USDA are broad-based and of “enormous importance to farmers, ranchers, business, low-income Americans and all our nation’s children.”