Giving Compass' Take:

• Farmers are feeling the full effects of the partial government shutdown, which closed U.S. Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency offices, delaying many services and payments.  

• How might the shutdown affect farmers and our agriculture system in the long-term?

• Learn about how female farmers are changing the field.

The ongoing partial shutdown of the federal government, now into its third week, is reaching ever deeper into the lives of people far from the Washington, D.C., epicenter.

Beyond the hundreds of thousands of employees who are either working without pay or furloughed indefinitely, the people those employees would have been working with and for are now feeling the sting of closed offices, delayed payments and missing services.

In Iowa, all U.S Department of Agriculture Farm Service Agency offices are closed. At this time of year, farmers might visit those offices to apply for loans or to certify their harvest numbers for the Market Facilitation Program (the money designated to help farmers who were impacted by the trade war in 2018), among many other reasons.

The USDA was scheduled to start releasing reports this week showing total agricultural production in 2018 and expectations for the world supply and demand in 2019.  Bruce Rohwer, farmer in O’Brien County, said the information is critical for farm planning because it helps farmers decide how many acres of which crops to plant.

“The cash-flow situation in agriculture is really quite dire,” Rohwer said. “So the ability to try to find ways in which to increase the cash that you’re going to receive for your crop becomes ever more important.”

USDA provided a list of programs and services that would be affected by the shutdown, but with every additional day, there is less clarity about exactly what is operating. For many federally funded programs, the critical detail is whether federal dollars were in hand when the shutdown began.

Read the full article about how the government shutdown affects farmers by Amy Mayer at Harvest Public Media.