Crop estimates, export promotion hit by sequester cuts

03/14/2013 06:34:00 PM
Tom Karst

According to a USDA spokesman, speaking on condition of anonymity, the $200 million MAP budget cut is $10.2 million. and $1.76 million for the $30 million. The Foreign Market Development Program’s $30 million budget has $1.76 million less, he said.

B.J. Thurlby, president of the Wenatchee, Wash.-based Northwest Cherry Growers, said the USDA Foreign Agricultural Service told the group that the MAP allocations have been cut by 10% across the board for fiscal year 2013. Thurlby said the ultimate sequestration effect could be less than that, but accordign to the USDA, the MAP will be cut 10%.

Foster said 10% of the export program allocations were withheld earlier this year in anticipation of budget cuts.

She said the industry is hopeful that Congress will lift the sequester or at least bring some certainty to programs like crop insurance, commodity purchases, export promotion and crop estimates.

“Growers need to know what will be happening,” Foster.

A spokesman for the USDA said there were no reductions or changes in the number of market news reports for fruits and vegetables — which focus on f.o.b. and terminal market prices — as of mid-March.

Sequestration cuts were put in place during the 2011 debt ceiling negotiations as part of the Budget Control Act. The law called for close to $1 trillion in automatic cuts to begin in 2013 if Congress and the president couldn’t agree on a plan to reduce the deficit by $4 trillion. Delayed from January until March 1 this year, the Office of Management and Budget has said sequestration cuts require spending reductions of 9% for nondefense programs and 13% for defense programs for fiscal 2013.


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