Trump's budget includes a 21 per cent cut to the USDA

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Loebsack and other critics noted the president's plan is subject to change by Congress, and that they will fight the cuts to programs for improving the economic lot of rural residents and communities.

"Instead of laying out a real strategy to create jobs and grow the economy across rural America, President Trump has introduced a budget that will do the exact opposite by making some of his deepest cuts to the Department of Agriculture", Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-East Moline, told

The farm group representatives that met with National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn on March 15 have been stressing the importance of agricultural trade following a number of statements by the president in which he canceled US participation in the Trans-Pacific Partnership and indicated he wants to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement and other trade pacts.

"US farmers have long said they were willing to compete with farmers elsewhere on a level playing field, but they can not compete with the treasuries of foreign governments", the groups wrote. He also pointed out reducing local staff with the Farm Service Agency and eliminating funds for the Rural Business Program. "They file required reports on planting there and get help with applying for grants and doing conservation". That would shrink the department's budget to $17.9 billion, a $4.7 billion cut.

"Cuts to the water and wastewater loan grant program are wrongly portrayed as duplicative when they are the only ways for small rural communities to update their water systems", he said in a statement.

"I don't think voters wanted this", Lara Bryan, a water quality expert for the environmental group, wrote in a blog post.

"When you cut funding in this way, sometimes the effects are slow, and sometimes you hit a cliff", says Johnathan Hladik, policy director at the Nebraska-based Center for Rural Affairs.

The president's blueprint also provides for a $2.6 billion cut to EPA funding.

He didn't rule out cutting programs, but he said he was concerned about cuts to the FSA. Preserving low-income rentals is critical, Yentel added, because there hasn't been an increase in funding new homes in rural areas since 2012.

The Agricultural Research Service also might face cuts to focus departmental research on "the highest priority agriculture and food issues, such as increasing farm productivity, sustaining natural resources. and addressing food safety and nutrition priorities", the document says. RJ Karney, the American Farm Bureau Federation's director of congressional relations, says the time is not right to take an axe to rural development.

The president's budget deals only with the government's discretionary spending and does not include the more costly entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

The McGovern-Dole International Food for Education Program, which distributes food aid to children living in poverty overseas, would be eliminated under the budget proposal, saving about $200 million. They make up the largest portion of the $4 trillion annual federal budget.