An impasse between Senate Democrats and House Republicans that has shut down the federal government is hurting farmers and rural Americans as dozens of important programs are shuttered indefinitely.
While initial estimate suggested that the shutdown, the result of Republican (primarily led by members of the Tea Party) efforts to defund or repeal the Affordable Care Act, would only last a few days, it has stretched into its second week with no end in sight. House Republicans appear unwilling to back down and Senate Democrats, and President Barack Obama, have refused to compromise the new health care law.
The shutdown has shuttered several critical farm programs and organizations. The US Department of Agriculture’s website, along with all the collected information on said website, has been shut down until the government is funded again and several conservation and development programs have ceased.
In addition, the expiration of the farm bill has halted many other major programs. Nutritional programs for seniors, new conservation programs and loans, loans programs for beginning and underrepresented farmers are no longer taking applications, and milk price protection programs will end at the end of the year.
The shutdown, combined with the expiration of the farm bill, has infuriated many farmers across the country. “Enough is enough,” said the Ohio Ecological Food and Farm Association in Columbus, Ohio. “Farmers have been without a farm bill for a year.”
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Written by: Justin Ellison / Farm Plus Staff Writer