Agriculture
4:34 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Government Shutdown Keeps Farmers from Signing Up for Federal Programs

Kentucky Farm Bureau officials say the lack of a budget because of the partial government shutdown is preventing farmers from getting loans they need through federal agencies like the Natural Resources Conservation Service or Farm Service Agency.

KFB’s National Affairs and Political Education Director Joe Cain said farmers interested in signing up for government programs are at a loss because many federal employees are furloughed.

“The biggest impact that we’re having is from the lack of having a budget,” he said. “You’ve got several of the USDA agencies that are shut down. So we’re having a lot of impact from that just simply because we don’t have the technical assistance and some of the other things that we normally get from agencies like NRCS or the risk management agency or the farm service agency.”

Cain said larger farm programs like crop insurance have not been affected because those payments had already been made. But farmers already in those programs aren’t seeing major changes in day to day operations.

“Big day-to-day programs you don’t see a whole lot of change right now, it’s mainly in anything that would have a new sign up,” Cain said.

Kentucky Senate Agriculture Committee Chairman Paul Hornback said the federal government shutdown has made it difficult for some farmers to cash their Farm Service Agency checks. Farmers financing through the FSA cannot get their checks endorsed because the agency’s employees are furloughed and offices are closed.