Delaware Public Media

First State farmers hurt as government shutdown drags on

Jan 11, 2019

The current federal government shutdown is set to be longest in modern history.

It’s affecting some Delawareans, including First State farmers.


The ongoing partial shutdown means farmers hurt by the Trump administration’s trade war are not able to apply for mitigation assistance funding. That’s because Farm Service Agency centers are closed.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is extending the deadline for farmers to apply for trade assistance funding, but not until the shutdown ends.

And Delaware Agriculture Secretary Michael Scuse says farmers are also unable to apply for government loans because of the closures. He says farmers could go out of business if the shutdown drags on and they can’t get a bank line of credit.

“If this thing goes on for an extended period of time, there is that possibility where we’re going to lose farmers. Not just here in Delaware, but nationwide.”

Scuse notes three local dairy farmers went out of business in recent months because of price drops. He adds others are anxious about how the shutdown will hurt their businesses.

“Unless we can get those MPP payments out to the producers and do it in a timely fashion, you don’t know how much longer some of our producers can hang on.”

“If this thing goes on for an extended period of time, there is that possibility where we’re going to lose farmers. Not just here in Delaware, but nationwide.”

The current record for a federal government shutdown is 21 days.

Congressional Democrats and President Trump are an at impasse over border wall funding. Democrats say it’s waste of money. But the president says it’s needed for border security. Sen. Chris Coons says he does not see the shutdown an ending until Trump sticks to a position and is willing to compromise.

Trump says he is considering declaring a national emergency to build the wall.