A few people on our staff are getting emails from producers asking whether direct payments will be delayed because of the federal shutdown.
Maybe I haven't hammered that point home enough because I'm not repeating it every day. The Farm Service Agency is closed for business. Direct payment (DCP) checks are delayed. When USDA reopens for business, this will be one of my first questions to USDA press staff. Hey, when do you think certain program checks will go out?
Conservation Reserve Program checks are on hold. Conservation Stewardship Program checks are on hold. If you are waiting for a USDA check from one of the other countless programs and you haven't gotten it this month, then it is highly likely that check isn't coming until USDA reopens for business.
Perhaps this shows some of the significance the federal government still plays in agriculture.
On Tuesday, Sen. John Thune, R-S.D., called on Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to reopen FSA offices in South Dakota because of the devastating storms in that state.
“We need to be doing everything we can to help the livestock producers whose livelihoods have been endangered by this storm,” said Thune. “Opening our FSA offices in western South Dakota is a step to begin providing services and relief to ranchers who have experienced devastating livestock losses. I’m also continuing to work with Speaker (John) Boehner and hope that he will quickly name House Farm Bill conferees so that we can finalize a new Farm Bill—one that includes livestock disaster programs—as soon as possible."
By the way, if I haven't written it at least several hundred times over the last couple of years I also should mention that direct payments go away under the farm bills awaiting conference talks (unless the House gets its way for cotton producers). So there wouldn't be any need to wait for those checks to arrive after that.
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