How Government Shutdown Affects Farmers

Iowa Farm Scene

Farm bill expired Oct. 1, same day government shut down.

Published on: October 2, 2013

NRCS offices are closed during the federal shutdown, so the state-employed soil and water conservation employees in SWCD offices have to find another place to work out of. Conservation district employees, those paid by the state of Iowa, are being allowed to set up temporary offices in ISU Extension facilities in the counties," says Northey. "Some have found other locations. ISU Extension is great to work with. We really appreciate Extension helping us and our employees."

Contact IDALS with soil conservation questions during shutdown

The Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship's employees who work in NRCS facilities will be working from alternate locations. During the federal shutdown, IDALS conservation employees can be contacted through the state ag department's office in Des Moines. Iowans with questions for state soil secretaries and state soil technicians can contact the IDALS office in Des Moines at 515-281-5258 for assistance.

"All other areas of the Iowa Department of Agriculture are continuing to operate. We will continue to evaluate any further impacts from the federal government shutdown," says Northey.

Lack of price data due to government shutdown disrupts livestock pricing

Farmers are affected by the shutdown if they market livestock, says John Otte, farm management editor for Farm Progress. An extended government shutdown will introduce inefficiencies in the ag commodity price discovery mechanism. Sketchy data on cash market prices will diminish market transparency. Futures traders will have more difficulty getting reality checks from cash market transactions.

Expiration of farm bill is a little different than shutdown of USDA agency functions

The farm bill expired as of Oct. 1 and there hasn't been a huge outcry among farmers who are busy with harvest. Farmers have grown immune to the inability of Congress to agree and pass a new farm bill. "I think farmers have gotten tired of talking about it," says Craig Hill, a Warren County farmer and president of Iowa Farm Bureau. "The farm bill debate in Congress has gone on and on and every month there is lack of progress. We don't hear as much from farmers as we did earlier; farmers are frustrated."