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Federal Shutdown Puts Brakes On Farm Service Payments

farm-harvest-0.jpg

If funding for the Farm Service Agency is not restored before Friday, farmers will be kept waiting for their tariff relief payments. (Steve Burns, WTIU/WFIU News)

Subsidy payments to farmers could be delayed because of the funding fight over President Donald Trump's proposed wall on the US-Mexico border.

The Farm Service Agency is the office that processes payments. Local offices are closing Friday because of the partial government shutdown.

Farmers are caught in the middle of the funding fight over the president’s proposed border wall.

President Trump promised aid to farmers who are being hurt by the ongoing trade dispute with China, but many Farm Service Agency employees were furloughed when the shutdown began at midnight on December 22.  Local offices will remain open until Friday, but after that employees will be gone until funding is restored.

That puts farmers in limbo because it is unclear how long the stalemate in Washington might last.  

Indiana Farmer’s Union president James Benham says even though the majority of farmers are not relying on the payments, they’re still important.

"Where the problem comes in as far as the shutdown, is that the fact is there are probably a few folks that are relying heavily on those dollars to eliminate some debt or finalize some debt," Benham says.

Speaking to reporters over the holidays, President Trump said the government would remain partially shut down until there’s a budget deal that includes funding for the wall.

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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