Help comes for farmers impacted by partial government shutdown

Published: Jan. 23, 2019 at 10:22 PM CST
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Come Thursday, farmers will get some help amid the partial government shutdown, in its 33rd day Wednesday.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is recalling more than 9,000 employees so they can reopen all farm service agency offices.

The past year was a challenge for many farmers due in part to poor weather and the trade war with China. With these challenges, many farmers depend on an emergency fund from the federal government and some event take out additional loans.

Financial stress grew last month with the government shutdown forcing some farm service agency officers to close their doors. With these offices closed, farmers could not renew loans. This left them with few options.

Compared to others, Sedgwick County farmer Mike Raush has fared well as he finished clearing his fields in December and applied early fro emergency funding he can use this year.

"I got done. I hustled in and took my papers in and they got it all taken care of before the government shutdown happened," he says.

But Raush knows other farmers who were not so fortunate. Some farmers were unable to apply for emergency funds during the government shutdown.

"The uncertainty going into 2019...There's a lot of uncertainty out there," Rausch says. "Thank God their wives work, thank God they work. But yeah, if you have a land payment, a machinery payment, a crop payment coming in, how are you going to fill that?"

In addressing these concerns, Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue also announced recently that the deadline to apply for the Market Facilitation Program is extended to Feb. 14.