The shutdown of our federal government that occurred at 12:00 am this morning due to squabbling between our two political parties affects all of us. Some of us will be affected more than others, like those employed directly by the Fed, but the closing of government offices across the nation is a big deal to all of us.
For America’s farmers, it means that essential government services provided by the Farm Service Association, the branch of the USDA that works with farmers, is closed. You can’t even access their website. Programs that will be unavailable for farmers until government funding is restored include farm loan programs, conservation programs, crop insurance, commodities programs, and much more.
You may think that these programs aren’t immediate, essential needs, but for farmers, they are. Hundreds of thousands of farmers across our nation will be unable to utilize the services they need to make decisions about their farm’s future, to protect their crops, or to borrow the funds they need to expand their operations. Just imagine how devastating it could be to a farmer who would like to borrow the funds to purchase a new tract of land but is unable to do so because of the shutdown? Another party could come up with the funds, buy the land, and curtail that farmer’s ability to farm. The FSA also offers planning assistance and financial advice. Since harvest is winding down for the year, farmers are now in planning mode for next spring and beyond. The government shut-down severely hampers their ability to get the best information and planning assistance.
Federal workers are just as disgruntled with our Congress as you, and I, and our farmers. Two USDA employees slammed the government in an article written by NBC’s Matthew DeLuca:
“It’s a mess, Congress needs to get their act together. Seriously, they’re like kids on the playground, fighting, fighting for nothing. It’s ridiculous,” said Leathey Chandler, an employee at the Department of Agriculture. “It was ridiculous then and it’s ridiculous now. Get it together, people.”
Another USDA employee, Lawrence Albert, said he was going into work to set up an email away message and change his voicemail before heading home.
“I think it’s miserable, it has nothing to do with democracy or lobbying for causes,” Albert said. “This is not the way government should work at all, it’s a disgrace.”
One thing is for sure, Congress needs to quit acting like TheWeeLaddie throwing a fit when I tell him he can’t bite the dog and to grow up and do their jobs. Millions of people, including thousands of farmers who provide food we need to live (yeah, you too Congress), greatly depend on the services provided by the federal government.
Remember, everyone, that we have the power to express our intense displeasure with our representatives with our votes during the next election!