Shutdown has minimal local impact


Monroe County citizens are among those across the country who are feeling the impact of the federal government shutdown, albeit to a lesser extent than some. 

Perhaps the largest portion of the county affected by the shutdown, which is the longest in history at 26 days and counting, are the farmers. 

Most of the that impact comes because the United States Department of Agriculture’s Farm Service Agency office in Waterloo is closed.

“We can’t do any business with the USDA office,” Fults farmer Dennis Rodenberg said. “Other than that, it’s pretty much the norm.”

The amount of business farmers do with that office is relatively small, meaning the shutdown has not had a severe impact on most Monroe County farmers. 

“It’s really a smaller portion, but everything we do has got to go through them,” Rodenberg explained. “So, it’s a little bit of an inconvenience right now.”

It can be slightly more than that for some farmers who signed up for the USDA’s Market Facilitation Program. 

That program gave farmers money after they suffered from retaliatory tariffs during the trade war with China last year. 

“If you hadn’t applied for it yet, then those funds would be held up and you wouldn’t have received those,” Valmeyer farmer Bruce Brinkman explained. “I’ve heard that some have gotten their second installment, but others haven’t.”

The majority of Monroe County farmers appear to be in the former camp…>>> 

Read the full story in the January 16, 2019, issue.

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