WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Representative Cindy Axne (IA-03) urged Congressional leaders to re-open the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to restore crucial programs and services vital to Iowa farmers. The partial government shutdown, which began on December 22, 2018, has now stretched into its twentieth day. Although some programs in the USDA remain funded, the closing of key agencies continues to negatively affect Iowa’s agricultural industry and rural communities.
In a letter sent to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy and U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Congresswoman Axne called for bipartisan support to pass the Agriculture Appropriations bill, while allowing Congress and the President to continue negotiations to better strengthen our border security.
“The lapse in USDA federal funding will have a significant impact on an industry that is an economic driver and job creator across the state of Iowa. So long as the USDA remains unfunded, hundreds of crucial programs and services are unavailable, preventing Iowa farmers from providing for their families and feeding people at home and around the world,” Congresswoman Axne wrote.
The USDA Farm Service Agency has been closed since December 28th, preventing Iowa farmers and producers from receiving the direct payments or loans they need. National Agricultural Statistic Service activities have been suspended, which will impact the availability of critical information for our farmers such as the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report. The Economic Research Service has also stopped functioning, delaying commodity outlook reports and projections ahead of the next planting season.
The full letter text of the letter is available here and below.