Postcard from Iowa: How three farmers are coping with the government shutdown
Friday marks the 28th day of the partial government shutdown that began on December 22, 2018.
As we’ve reported, the shutdown—prompted by a power struggle between the Trump White House and Congressional Democrats over funding for a border wall—has cost hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal workers their economic security. But the financial impacts of the shutdown aren’t exclusive to them. Native communities face food shortages as federal funds that support food pantries dry out. Food safety inspections are hamstrung except in the cases of high-risk recalls. And Texas lawmakers are fearful that Trump may soon authorize funds earmarked for Hurricane Harvey relief to build the wall.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) on Thursday reopened half of its Farm Service Agency (FSA) offices for a brief, three-day period to help farmers handle existing loans and provide them with tax documents. We sent photographer KC McGinnis to an office in Williamsburg, Iowa to ask farmers how the intractable government gridlock 900 miles away looks and feels from where they stand. Some told McGinnis they were more confident than others about their ability to withstand the effects of the shutdown, but they all shared concerns about the detrimental effects of a no-end-in-sight standoff.
Here are their responses, in their own words.