By Michelle Bigelbach
The Courier 

Government Shutdown Impacts Local Farmers and Workers

No End in Sight for Washington Stalemate


January 2, 2019

With the farm bill being signed into law by President Trump reauthorizing a number of programs to help farmers and ranchers get back on their feet, receiving word the second round of direct payments for those who were affected by the trade war with China were going to be distributed and resolutions were being made between the U.S., Canada and Mexico, farmers seemed like their luck was turning around as 2018 came to an end.

However when the government shutdown as a result of lapse in funding, direct payments for farmers who haven’t yet certified production, as well as direct payments for farm loans and disaster assistance programs, have been placed on hold and won’t start up again until the government reopens.

The USDA has set aside approximately $9.5 billion in direct payments for growers of soybeans, corn, wheat, sorghum and other commodities most affected by tariffs. Farmers received the first round of payments in September and the deadline to sign up for the second round is still slated for Tuesday, Jan. 15.

Farmers aren’t the only ones affected by the government shutdown as government agencies have closed, including FSA county offices, which were closed as of Dec. 28, federal employees in certain agencies are being furloughed, including the National Weather Service in Glasgow, and some national parks remain accessible with little to no staff.

As of press time, President Trump and Congress are still working on a deal to reach a compromise in order to get the government back up and running.


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