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

HRW: Egypt's Trial of Morsi ‘Badly Flawed’

Human Rights Watch says former Egypt leader's detention without charge for more than three weeks after his removal from office violated Egyptian law; government rejects criticism More

Photogallery Lancet Report Calls for Major Investment in Surgery

In its report published by The Lancet, panel of experts says people are dying from conditions easily treated in the operating room such as hernia, appendicitis, obstructed labor, and serious fractures More

Music Industry Under Sway of Digital Revolution

Millions of people in every corner of the Earth now can enjoy a vast variety and quantity of music in a way that has never before been possible More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populationsi
X
April 24, 2015 10:13 PM
A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Study: Insecticide Damaging Wild Bee Populations

A popular but controversial type of insecticide is damaging important wild bee populations, according to a new study. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Data Servers Could Heat Private Homes

As every computer owner knows, when their machines run a complex program they get pretty hot. In fact, cooling the processors can be expensive, especially when you're dealing with huge banks of computer servers. But what if that energy could heat private homes? VOA’s George Putic reports that a Dutch energy firm aims to do just that.
Video

Video Cinema That Crosses Borders Showcased at Tribeca Film Festival

Among the nearly 100 feature length films being shown at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival in New York City are more than 20 documentaries and features with international appeal, from a film about a Congolese businessman in China, to documentaries shot in Pakistan and diaspora communities in the U.S., to a poetic look at disaffected South African youth. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video UN Confronts Threat of Young Radicals

The radicalization and recruitment of young people into Islamist extremist groups has become a growing challenge for governments worldwide. On Thursday, the U.N. Security Council heard from experts on the issue, which has become a potent threat to international peace and security. VOA’s Margaret Besheer reports.
Video

Video Growing Numbers of Turks Discover Armenian Ancestry

In a climate of improved tolerance, growing numbers of people in Turkey are discovering their grandmothers were Armenian. Hundreds of thousands of Armenians escaped the mass deportations and slaughter of the early 1900's by forced conversion to Islam. Or, Armenian children were taken in by Turkish families and assimilated. Now their stories are increasingly being heard. Dorian Jones reports from Istanbul that the revelations are viewed as an important step.
Video

Video Migrants Trek Through Western Balkans to Reach EU

Migrants from Africa and other places are finding different routes into the European Union in search of a better life. The Associated Press followed one clandestine group to document their trek through the western Balkans to Hungary. Zlatica Hoke reports that the migrants started using that route about four years ago. Since then, it has become the second-most popular path into Western Europe, after the option of sailing from North Africa to Italy.
Video

Video TIME Magazine Honors Activists, Pioneers Seen as Influential

TIME Magazine has released its list of celebrities, leaders and activists, whom it deems the world’s “most influential” in 2015. VOA's Ramon Taylor reports from New York.
Video

Video US Businesses See Cuba as New Frontier

The Obama administration's opening toward Cuba is giving U.S. companies hope they'll be able to do business in Cuba despite the continuation of the U.S. economic embargo against the communist nation. Some American companies have been able to export some products to Cuba, but the recent lifting of Cuba's terrorism designation could relax other restrictions. As VOA's Daniela Schrier reports, corporate heavy hitters are lining up to head across the Florida Straits - though experts urge caution.
Video

Video Kenya Launches Police Recruitment Drive After Terror Attacks

Kenya launched a major police recruitment drive this week as part of a large-scale effort to boost security following a recent spate of terror attacks. VOA’s Gabe Joselow reports that allegations of corruption in the process are raising old concerns about the integrity of Kenya’s security forces.
Video

Video Japan, China in Race for Asia High-Speed Rail Projects

A lucrative competition is underway in Asia for billions of dollars in high-speed rail projects. Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia Thailand and Vietnam are among the countries planning to move onto the fast track. They are negotiating with Japan and the upstart Chinese who are locked in a duel to revolutionize transportation across Asia. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman in Bangkok has details.
Video

Video Scientists: Mosquitoes Attracted By Our Genes

Some people always seem to get bitten by mosquitoes more than others. Now, scientists have proved that is really the case - and they say it’s all because of genes. It’s hoped the research might lead to new preventative treatments for diseases like malaria, as Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Bible Museum Coming to Washington DC

Washington is the center of American political power and also home to some of the nation’s most visited museums. A new one that will showcase the Bible has skeptics questioning the motives of its conservative Christian funders. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Armenia and Politics of Word 'Genocide'

A century ago this April, hundreds of thousands of Armenians of the Turkish Ottoman empire were deported and massacred, and their culture erased from their traditional lands. While broadly accepted by the U.N. and at least 20 countries as “genocide”, the United States and Turkey have resisted using that word to describe the atrocities that stretched from 1915 to 1923. But Armenians have never forgotten.
Video

Video Afghan First Lady Pledges No Roll Back on Women's Rights

Afghan First Lady Rula Ghani, named one of Time's 100 Most Influential, says women should take part in talks with Taliban. VOA's Rokhsar Azamee has more from Kabul.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.

VOA Blogs