National Farmers Union (NFU) President Roger Johnson issued the following statement in regard to the U.S. House of Representatives’ proposed continuing resolution to fund the federal government from March 1 until the end of Fiscal Year 2011 on Sept. 30:
 
“Farmers Union members understand that reducing the deficit and exercising fiscal responsibility are critical. NFU has advocated for sensible spending reductions in the past and has not exempted farm and rural interests from those cutbacks. However, as our economy is just beginning to emerge from the Great Recession, we must be very careful to avoid taking action which may abort this nascent recovery.
 
“While we advocate for sensible spending reductions, the proposed cuts go far beyond what is reasonable. The continuing resolution cuts are disproportionately deep for agriculture programs. Ag-related programs account for about two percent of all federal spending in FY2010 but will suffer 22 percent of all the discretionary funding cuts under this proposal.
 
“These cuts to agriculture total $5.21 billion and would result in drastic funding shortages at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) not just for the next seven months but for years to come. The reductions for agriculture-related programs would stunt the progress of agricultural research efforts, inhibit the delivery of farm programs and cause immediate layoffs at USDA.
 
“Of all the categories in the House Continuing Resolution, only Housing and Urban Development was faced with a higher percentage cut (23 percent) than agriculture.
 
“Congress can – and must – identify a means of reducing the deficit in a way that spreads the burden more evenly among government programs and agencies.
 
“NFU looks forward to working with other like-minded organizations and decision makers to establish a reasonable continuing resolution that does not unfairly impact farmers, ranchers and rural Americans.”