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    Agri-Pulse reports:

    Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue is distancing himself from President Trump's last proposals to slash crop insurance. But Perdue says a separate proposal to convert the food stamp program from cash benefits to a commodity distribution plan originated with his department.

    Agri-Pulse caught up with Perdue at the World Ag Expo in Tulare, Calif., yesterday, where he assured reporters that Trump "understands the value of the safety net of crop insurance." He added that "Congress will put their stamp on it (the budget) as well."

    Perdue said the president's widely criticized proposal to overhaul the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program originated with USDA. Under the proposal, half of SNAP benefits would be provided through packages of processed foods, including shelf-stable milk, peanut butter and canned vegetables and meat.

    Perdue says those food packages would be a "more effective, efficient way" to deliver SNAP benefits.

    Crop insurance proposals 'scare' farmers

    The crop insurance cuts will never get through the House and Senate Agriculture committees, but the proposals are likely to embolden the program's critics during floor debates on farm bill amendments.

    The budget also will unnecessarily frighten both famers and bankers who don't understand that such proposals can't pass Congress, says Texas A&M University economist Joe Outlaw. "The reality is it scares people. It scares bankers, and it's probably not very helpful," he said, speaking at a Farm Foundation forum yesterday.

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