WASHINGTON (WDTN) – The partial government shutdown is reaching from Washington into the heartland. With no end in sight, lawmakers say America’s farmers are suffering.
During the shutdown, farmers cannot apply for loans or crop reports.
Senator Debbie Stabenow says improved programs included in the new farm bill are now on hold.
“Our dairy farmers have been clobbered. We have major improvements in the dairy program to help them,” she said.
The USDA has offered relief payments for certain farmers hurt by the trade war with China, but now, farmers cannot apply.
The application deadline was supposed to be Jan. 15, but Agricultural Secretary Sonny Perdue says he will extend that deadline once the shutdown ends.
Still, Stabenow argues farmers need certainty now.
“People are losing dollars, selling the farm. We don’t need additional pressure on them by not having the U.S. Department of Agriculture open for business.
Republican Senator John Thune says he is concerned about farmers in his state of South Dakota.
“That’s why there should be a sense of urgency. There’s nothing good accomplished by a government shutdown,” he says.
But Thune argues it is Democratic lawmakers who aren’t willing to negotiate.
“They seem to be locked into a position that doesn’t want to allow even a single dollar for border security,” he says.
Stabenow says ending the shutdown is up to the President and as both sides dig in, farmers will keep waiting with no relief in sight.