The American Soybean Association (ASA) has expressed its concern with the disproportionate cuts in agriculture spending in H.R. 1, the Continuing Resolution (CR) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2011.

On Feb. 15, ASA, joined by 31 other agriculture organizations, sent a letter to House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers (R-Ky.) and Ranking Member Norman Dicks (D-Wash.) expressing concern that H.R. 1 cuts to agriculture are more than double the amount proposed to be cut in overall non-defense discretionary spending.

“While we understand the bill’s efforts to decrease discretionary spending, we are concerned that agriculture is being required to absorb a disproportionate amount of the cuts,” said ASA President Alan Kemper, a soybean farmer from Lafayette, Ind.

H.R. 1 would cut $5.21 billion, or 22.4 percent, from agriculture-related programs and operating budgets during the remaining seven months of FY-2011. This is more than double the 10.3 percent cut proposed in overall non-defense discretionary spending.

“Given the importance that agriculture plays in America’s food security and economic recovery, it is unclear how such disproportionate cuts are warranted or wise,” Kemper said. “ASA is strongly encouraging Congress to reconsider the balance of funding cuts for the remainder of FY-2011.”

The bill was introduced on Feb. 11, by the House Appropriations Committee and will be considered on the House floor this week. Each member of the House of Representatives also received a copy of the letter. Last December, the 111th Congress passed a CR to fund the federal government at FY-2010 levels through March 4, 2011. New legislation to fund the federal government in FY-2011 needs to be passed before work on the 2012 budget can begin.

ASA represents all U.S. soybean farmers on domestic and international issues of importance to the soybean industry. ASA’s advocacy efforts are made possible through the voluntary membership in ASA by over 22,500 farmers in 31 states where soybeans are grown.