WASHINGTON — The Federal Government shutdown, now on day 34 (on day of publication), has shuttered USDA offices across the country, freezing many of the programs young farmers depend on, such as USDA Farm Service Agency (FSA) assistance, trade aid, livestock and commodity reports, rural development and housing grants, and many other crucial services. Without access to these critical programs, farmers are left without the resources they need to sell their crops and plan for the 2019 season.
The National Young Farmers Coalition (Young Farmers) calls upon Congress and the Administration to immediately reopen the federal government so that young farmers can access the USDA resources they need to manage their businesses.
“How are farmers supposed to plan for the upcoming season without their bank?” said Lindsey Lusher Shute, executive director and co-founder of the National Young Farmers Coalition. “Waiting on loan decisions, payments and data, young farmers have hit pause on many crucial planning decisions for 2019. Young farmers are waiting to purchase seed, farmland or equipment. Worse, farmers that received FSA loans in 2018 cannot receive payment for last year’s crop until offices reopen. This is not to mention the conservation assistance, research funding, technical services funding, and more, that cannot be distributed. The 2018 Farm Bill we fought so hard for is awaiting implementation and millions of families are on edge as the SNAP program quickly runs out of cash. The impacts of USDA’s closure go on and on, with ripples far beyond the farmstead.”
The current situation is desperately irresponsible for so many Americans, and most immediately the federal workforce. We call on the Administration to reopen the government immediately. The National Young Farmers Coalition (NYFC) is a national advocacy network of young farmers fighting for the future of agriculture. Visit NYFC on the web at youngfarmers.org, and on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
–National Young Farmers Coalition
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