Agriculture Secretary Clayton Yeutter says he would oppose any attempt to increase his department's share of budget cuts, but farm leaders say that isn't enough.
They are predicting that the $13 billion in cuts included in the deficit-reduction package rejected by the House Thursday would send the farm economy into a tailspin.It was not immediately clear if any new budget agreement would make further cuts in the USDA budget.
All of the $13 billion would have come out of Commodity Credit Corp. operations.
The CCC is synonymous with commodity price supports - the arcane and expensive world of acreage reduction, loan rates, target prices and deficiency payments.
Although declining from a peak of $16.7 billion in 1987, direct subsidy payments to farmers are expected to be around $9 billion this calendar year.
The American Farm Bureau Federation said farm programs account for less than 1 percent of the federal budget, yet the agreement requires those to absorb 10 percent of the total federal reduction.
Dean Kleckner, federation president, also cited tax increases he said would hurt agriculture.
"The proposed tax increases threaten to harm an already shaky economy," he said. "That in itself is bad for agriculture."