The combination of a relatively strong agricultural economy and a move to cut trillions from the federal budget could have a dramatic impact on the next farm bill, say South Dakota Republicans Sen. John Thune and Rep. Kristi Noem.

“Because of the good farm economy, this farm budget is a huge target right now for cuts,” says Thune. “Agriculture has already taken a big hit. Everybody is going to have to take a haircut because of the fiscal situation, but we need to be proportionate; agriculture shouldn’t take a disproportionate share.”

The comprehensive omnibus bill will be taken up in 2012 and replace the $288-billion bill passed in 2008.

Thune says some popular programs – like the Conservation Reserve Program, which has a 10-year budget of $12 million – are likely on the chopping block. The program is designed to protect natural resources by encouraging farmers and ranchers to enroll and meet stewardship criteria.

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