News / USA

US Government Shutdown Casts Shadow Over Promising Harvest

US Government Shutdown Casts Shadow Over Promising Harvesti
X
October 17, 2013 1:27 AM
Just one year after a catastrophic drought damaged vast areas of farmland in the Midwestern United States, farmers heading to the fields to harvest one of the best crop yields in years have been dealing with another obstacle - the partial shutdown of the U.S. Government. As VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports from Polo, Illinois, the shutdown has had a ripple effect, affecting everything from subsidies to loans to the price of grains and meat that farmers are trying to sell.
Kane Farabaugh
Just one year after a catastrophic drought damaged vast areas of farmland in the Midwestern United States, farmers heading to the fields to harvest one of the best crop yields in years have been dealing with another obstacle - the partial shutdown of the U.S. Government. The shutdown has had a ripple effect, affecting everything from subsidies to loans to the price of grains and meat that farmers are trying to sell.

2013 is shaping up to be a golden harvest for Illinois farmer Brian Duncan. “The crops this year are really good… really good crops.”

The corn stalks in his fields are tall and plentiful, a dramatic change from last year’s harvest, when a historic drought reduced crop yields throughout the United States.

But while much of what Duncan sees is promising, it’s Washington, D.C., that gives him the greatest concern.

“There was supposed to be a major crop report last Friday that could have been a market-moving report one way or the other, the October Crop Reduction Report. It wasn’t released,” he said.

That’s because the U.S. Department of Agriculture was partially shut down, and no one was available to publish the reports.

“When we’ve got the potential for a good size crop coming in, nobody knows how big the crop is, how much the carry over is going to be," said LaSalle County farmer Monty Whipple, who also serves as president of the local Farm Bureau. "All those government programs regarding crop size are on hold because nobody is keeping statistics, because nobody is showing up for work.”

He said the government shutdown has had a ripple effect on farmers across the country.

It’s been noticeable mostly because the branch offices of the Agriculture Department have been closed and government programs for farmers have been on hold.

"If you are expecting any kind of a program payment yet this year, you are obviously not getting it. If you have programs you want to enroll for, they’re not taking enrollments. If you want to put your crop money under loan, that federal loan money that’s available is not going through,” said Whipple.

“I’m waiting for a sign-off on a new hog building, that I’m participating with a government program, the EQIP Program," said Duncan. "And were ready to go. October 1st it should have been signed off on. No one is in the office to sign off on it. So there we sit.”

As Duncan sits in his combine and focuses on this year’s harvest, he also is thinking about next year’s planting season.

“We’re making decisions as far as ordering seed, cropping mix, and we don’t know what insurances will be available to us, what pricing will be available to us, and we sit here without much information,” said Duncan.

That’s because once lawmakers have dealt with the debt ceiling and reopened the federal government, they will have to tackle another issue of big concern to farmers - passing new Farm Bill legislation. The deadline is January 1.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor warns of obesity’s worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam Wari
X
Katherine Gypson
May 25, 2015 1:32 AM
For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.
Video

Video Scientists Testing Space Propulsion by Light

Can the sun - the heart of our solar system - power a spacecraft to the edge of our solar system? The answer may come from a just-launched small satellite designed to test the efficiency of solar sail propulsion. Once deployed, its large sail will catch the so-called solar wind and slowly reach what scientists hope to be substantial speed. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video FIFA Trains Somali Referees

As stability returns to the once lawless nation of Somalia, the world football governing body, FIFA, is helping to rebuild the country’s sport sector by training referees as well as its young footballers. Abdulaziz Billow has more from Mogadishu.
Video

Video With US Child Obesity Rates on the Rise, Program Promotes Health Eating

In its fifth year, FoodCorps puts more than 180 young Americans into 500 schools across the United States, where they focus on teaching students about nutrition, engaging them with hands-on activities, and improving their access to healthy foods whether in the cafeteria or the greater community. Aru Pande has more.
Video

Video Virginia Neighborhood Draws People to Nostalgic Main Street

In the U.S., people used to grow up in small towns with a main street lined by family-owned shops and restaurants. Today, however, many main streets are worn down and empty because shoppers have been lured away by shopping malls. But in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia, main street is thriving. VOA’s Deborah Block reports it has a nostalgic feel with its small restaurants and unique stores.

VOA Blogs