President Trump's budget proposal may impact Central Valley Ag and social programs

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President Donald Trump's 2018 budget calls for huge cuts across the board-- from the IRS to the EPA and, most notably for the Central Valley, the USDA. (KFSN)

President Donald Trump's 2018 budget calls for huge cuts across the board-- from the IRS to the EPA and, most notably for the Central Valley, the USDA.

"You're talking a reduction of 21-percent of the overall budget for the USDA. Very substantial, and we're seeing those cuts across the board," said Ryan Jacobsen, Fresno County Farm Bureau.

A proposed 21-percent cut means roughly $4.7 billion, but Jacobsen says at this point it is unclear how this will affect the local Ag industry.

"This is a proposal. Obviously what gets through Congress and makes it to his desk is a long ways off at this point, but it's not necessarily a surprise that we've seen cuts in the areas that we've seen so far."

Jacobsen said agricultural research appears to be a top priority in the budget which is important for Central Valley farming.

Wildland fire preparedness and suppression will also remain fully funded.

But the USDA is also responsible for a lot of other areas like a program that offers supplemental food help and health care referrals for women, infants, and children.

"Our organization alone serves approximately 38,000 mothers with children every month," said Paul McLain-Lugowski, Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission.

McLain-Lugowski with the Fresno Economic Opportunities Commission said WIC is one of the many programs they oversee. If this budget is passed he said the EOC could lose seven to $10-million in federal funding. While the local WIC program won't be eliminated he believes there will likely be major cuts to the program.

"These programs are often the one that make the difference in families being able to sustain themselves from month to month. Many of us in this line of work are very disturbed-- concerned for the future of the clients that we work with, especially in a region like Fresno."

The budget released Thursday is just a glimpse of what to expect and a more detailed budget is expected to be released later in the spring.

This budget will have to be approved by Congress before the President can sign off on it and make it official.
Related Topics:
politicsfresno countyagriculturePresident Donald Trumpbudget
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