Secretary Vilsack outlines how ag sector could be impacted by shutdown

Congress is no closer to reaching a deal to prevent a government shutdown and Ag Secretary Tom Vilsack says it will have an immediate impact on rural America and to the farm economy.  “Now is the time when farmers are harvesting their crops and they’re seeking marketing loans,” he says.  “Which allows them and assists them in ensuring that they get a decent price for their crop. When we have a shutdown, Farm Service Agency offices in virtually every county of this country shut down.”

During a briefing at the White House on Monday, he was asked if the shutdown would impact crop insurance for farmers.  “The shutdown does not impact and affect crop insurance,” the Secretary said.  “But a failure to extend the farm bill, or get a farm bill done, could. Which is why we don’t want to shutdown, so they can work on the farm bill to get it done.”

Vilsack says the shutdown has real impacts on real people.  He says it would force an estimated 50,000 USDA employees to be furloughed.  It would also disrupt services under the Women’s, Infants, and Children program, pause funding for Food Banks, and the USDA’s Rural Development program. It could also interrupt some key government reports.

If a deal isn’t reached by September 30th, a shutdown will begin on October 1.

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