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

Scotland Vote Raises Questions of International Law

Experts say self-determination, as defined and protected by international law, confined narrowly to independence movements in process of de-colonization More

Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Annual Military Exercise Takes on New Meaning for Ukraine Troops

Troops from 15 nations participating in annual event, 'Rapid Trident' in western Ukraine More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid