The Trump administration has proposed slashing conservation programs, food aid, crop insurance and trade programs that help sell American wheat to foreign buyers.
Michelle Hennings, executive director of the Washington Association of Wheat Growers based in Ritzville, said those cuts would be especially painful for many farmers on the Palouse, who have struggled to turn a profit amid a global wheat surplus.
Washington exports more than 80 percent of the wheat it produces, while the country as a whole exports about 50 percent. Hennings said many Washington growers need about $6 per bushel to break even, yet prices have been hovering below $5 for months.
“It’s so important to trade our wheat,” she said, “because otherwise we sit on it and the price goes down.”
Trump’s budget stands little chance of passing Congress intact, but agriculture groups are gearing up for a major lobbying effort on Capitol Hill ahead of negotiations on a farm bill that’s set to expire in 2018. The farm bill generally identifies which programs should receive funding during the budgeting process. Full story. Chad Sokol/SR