NFU: Government unable to respond to distress in livestock industry
WASHINGTON – As the U.S. government remains in shutdown mode, National Farmers Union (NFU) is deeply concerned about the direct impact it is having on livestock producers, especially in severe weather stricken areas. NFU President Roger Johnson issued the following statement:
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 shutdown. 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.