It’s not so much what it says but what it doesn’t say—and the 2020 President’s Budget, released on March 10, 2019, has little to say about natural resources conservation.
The 2020 Budget proposes $20.8 billion for USDA, a $3.6 billion decrease from the 2019 estimate (including changes in mandatory programs and receipts). Funding cuts are proposed for all non-defense agencies.
The budget proposes a reduction of $247 million for natural resources conservation, largely from Conservation Technical Assistance. Despite growing awareness of weather-induced risks to agriculture and rural America, the budget also eliminates funding for watershed programs aimed at helping individuals and communities manage water supplies or mitigate flooding. The budget tries to mask these cuts to technical service to farmers and ranchers by including Farm Bill technical assistance funding, giving the illusion that resources would increase rather than decline by a very real 25 percent.