The odds of avoiding a “fiscal cliff” by the end of the year are quickly diminishing, and rural Americans would likely be among the biggest losers affected by the predicament. American Farm Bureau Federation (AFBF) economist Matt Erickson points out the possible ramifications nearing for rural Americans and consumers.
“From agriculture’s perspective, three things that we need to look at: the estate tax policy, capital gains tax policy and farm bill or agricultural program spending in terms of being affected by this fiscal cliff,” Erickson said in an interview on AFBF’s Newsline.
The automatic spending cuts will take place at the beginning of the year if Congress doesn’t act soon and would take away $1.2 trillion from federal programs over the next nine years. Many farm programs are on the list, affecting more than just farmers, ranchers and agricultural producers.
“I think the loser of all of this is going to be rural America,” Erickson pointed out. “When we look at farm bill program spending, it’s not just about crop insurance, it’s not just about commodity programs, but it’s also about rural America, rural development and economic programs, also about food safety programs, agricultural research and Extension.”