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Government shutdown impacting Indiana farmers

NOW: Government shutdown impacting Indiana farmers

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- Farmers in Indiana are bracing for the worst as the government shutdown continues.

Now in its 24th day, the government shutdown is the longest in us history and Indiana farmers already feeling the heat from the president’s trade war with china are preparing for even more troubles with no end in sight.

“It’s a grave situation and it’s just going to get worse before it gets better as this thing drags on,” Bob White said, the Indiana Farm Bureau Director of National Government Relations.

White says he’s received a number of calls from Indiana farmers worried about the upcoming spring season and their finances.

“They’re just having to hold off on their plans,” White said. “If it gets into the spring season, it’s just going to exacerbate their problems.”

But how exactly is the government shutdown affecting local Indiana farmers? White said there are at least three major impacts.

With the FSA offices closed during the shutdown, many farmers waiting on marketing loans can’t go in and get their checks cashed out.  

Farmer hurt by the trade tariffs, had until Jan. 15 to apply for assistance which is now delayed.

Crucial statistical reports have been cancelled leaving farmers operating without essential information as they attempt to plan for spring.

“It’s going to be a struggle,” White said. “The loss from the tariffs, I mean, in June in Indiana, soybean farmers lost close to 100 million dollars in that month total.”

Despite the uncertainty, White said many farmers are still hopeful.

“Our farmers are concerned and nervous about it yet they’re cautiously optimistic that something will get solved here soon.”

The USDA has announced that it would extend the deadline for farmers hurt by the trade war to apply. Once the shutdown ends, the deadline will extend by the same number of days the shutdown occurred.

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