As the government shutdown continues, more and more Americans notice the effects on their lives. Farmers are no stranger to government frustrations. Less than a week ago, on October 1st, the Farm Bill officially expired. Well, the extension of the farm bill that was passed because Congress couldn’t agree on a new one. That expired.
If you’re a farmer looking for land, you’ve probably noticed that the USDA website is down. Or maybe if you’ve tried to check out information on FSA loans. You can’t find it online. That site’s down, too. Even the NRCS soil maps that can prove to be priceless tools for finding agricultural land. They’re not accessible. Each site offers a home page apology that dues to government shutdown, these non-essential sites are non-accessible.
“For the second year in a row, we have watched as our legislators let the farm bill expire without an extension or a new law in place. This year’s expiration is doubly concerning because our leaders have also failed to approve a new budget, shutting the federal government down wholesale until a compromise can be reached,” states National Association of Wheat Growers President Bing Von Bergen in a statement released earlier this month.
It’s moments like this that remind farmers and citizens that sole reliance on government funding and programs can sometime lead to gaps in necessary finances, and it is our duty to explore other options. As well as continue to encourage our representatives to get it together.
Read a more in-depth synopsis on budget issues, the farm bill and the ag economy at the Farm Policy website.