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Agriculture Today

Johnson speaks out on government shutdown

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October 16, 2013 | 3,716 views | Post a comment

As the U.S. government remains in shutdown mode, the National Farmers Union is deeply concerned about the direct impact it is having on livestock producers, especially in severe weather-stricken areas. National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson issued the following statement in an Oct. 7 Farmers Union press release:

“Over the past few days, Colorado, South Dakota, Wyoming, and other areas have seen record amounts of unseasonably early snowfall. With government agencies operating in limited capacity, the residents of these areas were lacking information and saw delays in reports and warnings in order to be prepared for the extreme conditions experienced.

“Early estimates just in the state of South Dakota are showing losses of 15 to 20 percent of entire herds. We are operating with limited information, as U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offices are not collecting or receiving data; however, this is an extremely concerning situation. Ranchers do not have access to assistance with the USDA Farm Service Agency offices closed; Livestock Indemnity Program benefits are not available; and other sources of support and information are unavailable.

“We are only beginning to learn of the impact that these weather disasters have had on our family farmers and ranchers while the government is shut down. I am deeply concerned for the future of our industry if this situation continues.

“It is critical that Congress pass a clean Continuing Resolution, get the government working again, and also pass a five-year, comprehensive farm bill this year. We cannot afford this standstill any longer.”

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