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Peterson: Ryan budget means no farm bill in 2012

WASHINGTON — The Republican budget proposal introduced Tuesday virtually guarantees there will not be a farm bill in 2012, Minnesota Democrat Collin Peterson said.Peterson, the ranking Democrat on the House […]

WASHINGTON — The Republican budget proposal introduced Tuesday virtually guarantees there will not be a farm bill in 2012, Minnesota Democrat Collin Peterson said.

Peterson, the ranking Democrat on the House Agriculture Committee, called the proposal “appalling” because it asks his committee to cut spending on agriculture programs in order to prevent funding cuts to the military.

“The Ryan budget proposes significant cuts in the farm safety net and conservation programs, and slashes spending on nutrition programs that provide food for millions of Americans,” Peterson said in a statement. “It is appalling that in an attempt to avoid defense cuts the Republican leadership has elected to leave farmers and hungry families hurting.”

The Republican budget, introduced by Republican Rep. Paul Ryan, would offset $55 billion in future Defense Department cuts by asking six committees, including Agriculture, to cut spending instead. He proposed reducing direct payments to farmers and reforming the crop insurance program, and if enacted, the bill would cut $33.2 billion in agriculture spending over the next 10 years.

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The House and Senate Agriculture Committees have been working on a five-year farm policy bill for Congress to consider this year, but Peterson said Ryan’s budget proposal precludes the possibly of getting one done.

Devin Henry can be reached at dhenry@minnpost.com.