How could the shutdown affect farmers?

Just after 7:30 this morning Julia Wickard, state director for the Indiana Farm Service Agency office sent notification to FSA offices around the state to notify them that employees are in emergency furlough status.  Until Congress restores funding, she says, the majority of FSA employees around the country will remain in that status.

Wickard says this will have impact on farmers.  “Many appointments are having to be cancelled because by noon today all employees will have left the building and we will be closed,” she says.  “

She tells Brownfield the shutdown puts her office in a “holding pattern”.  “CRP payments and DCP payments that would normally go out in October, until funding is restored to the federal government, we are not able to process and we cannot conduct business,” she says.  “All of our software, all of our hardware, all of our government equipment, and access to the building is shut down.”

And depending on how long the furlough lasts – it could also affect the weekly reports issued by USDA.  “The National Ag Statistics Services utilizes our FSA offices to collect information and to report information,” she says.  “And if we are not in the office we cannot provide that.”

Wickard says offices will remain closed until Congress either passes a continuing resolution or a budget to restore funding.

AUDIO: Julia Wickard, Indiana FSA State Director (7:30mp3)

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