Farmers Have Been Idled by Trump’s Shutdown

Written by SK Ashby

The federal government's current inability to administer Trump's bailout for farmers is a significant problem, but it's far from the only one facing farmers who are more or less paralyzed while Trump's shutdown continues.

Farmers who spoke to the New York Times say they can't even begin the process of planning their next harvest because the data they rely on is unavailable while the federal government is closed.

Now, farmers and farm groups say that federal crop payments have stopped flowing. Farmers cannot get federally backed operating loans to buy seed for their spring planting, or feed for their livestock. They cannot look up new government data about beef prices or soybean yields to make decisions about planting and selling their goods in an ever-changing global market.

“This is real,” said Jeff Witte, president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and New Mexico’s agriculture secretary. “You had farmers who were in the process of closing a loan or getting an operating loan. Now there’s nobody there to service those.”

Some farmers who spoke to the New York Times also said they still support Trump, but when Trump visits the Farm Bureau next week I expect opposition to his policies will be visible.

As you may recall, the last time Trump visited the Farm Bureau (pictured above) he was greeted by farmers wearing pins and hats to support the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

A majority of farmers never wanted Trump's trade war or his bailout and I can't imagine many of them are pleased by the government shutdown.

In any case, it seems all but assured that the cumulative consequences of Trump's shutdown will have a noticeable impact on first quarter economic growth.