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

China Investigates Former Powerful Security Chief

Former security chief and member of Politburo Standing Committee, Zhou Yongkang, under investigation for suspected 'serious disciplinary violation' More

India, US Look to Reset Ties During Kerry Visit

This week's talks will be first high level interaction between two countries since Prime Minister Narendra Modi took charge More

Video Young African Leadership Program Renamed to Honor Mandela

YALI program, launched by President Obama in 2010, aims to build skills in business, entrepreneurship, public management and civic leadership More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid