Government Shutdown Stalls Farm Programs

Jan 8, 2019

The partial government shutdown could affect farmers as they plan for the next growing season. DeKalb County Farm Bureau manager Greg Millburg says the shutdown mostly affects farmers interacting with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and those applying for programs laid out under the most recent Farm Bill.

“It's not impacting them a lot now, but as it goes on, it's going to continue to impact them more,” said Millburg.

 

For those wanting to apply for benefits like loans, they'll have to wait, said Millburg.

 

"So they can apply for that online. The application may still be out there, but there's nobody on the other end that’s gonna review that application and sign off on it," he said.

The DeKalb Branch of the Farm Service Agency (FSA) is closed due to the shutdown, says Millburg. The federally funded office serves DeKalb, DuPage, and Kane counties. The FSA is one of two USDA agencies with branches at the DeKalb Farm Bureau. Millburg says the two offices employ more than a dozen people.

 

Millburg says USDA market data also is delayed and submission deadlines are coming up quickly for businesses to join farm programs.

 

"The key is to have patience and, hopefully, the programs will -- the deadlines out there -- hopefully they will be extended," he said.

 

He said the Bureau doesn't endorse legislation and that they want to see lawmakers move past this impasse as soon as possible.