The federal government shutdown could wreak havoc on U.S. agriculture and the rural economy as farmers wait on subsidy payments, loans and data they need now to make plans for the spring. As a result of the shutdown, applications are now on hold for a $12 billion emergency aid package Trump and the Department of Agriculture announced for farmers hurt by retaliatory tariffs from China and other nations. A Jan. 15 deadline for that program may have to be extended. That’s a significant barrier to Midwestern ag, whose two biggest crops — corn and soy — have been hit particularly hard by Trump’s trade war and rely heavily on federal government subsidies to remain profitable. California farmers, however, say they’re accustomed to operating with minimal federal government assistance. Some believe the shutdown’s effects are limited — so far. “(California growers) are used to operating with limited federal government oversight,” said Joel Nelsen, California Citrus Mutual CEO and USDA adviser. “Here in California, we have such a robust FDA that we aren’t missing the federal government yet.” Josh Rolph, California Farm Bureau’s manager of Federal Policy agreed. “The shutdown will have no big impact (on California ag) in the short-term,” he said. “Most growers are not directly affected unless… Read full this story
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