American Consequences - January 2019


Financial follies and disaster in the making

and then some. To cover these upfront expenses, many farmers take out loans through the FSA. According to the USDA, the FSA distributed more than $5 billion in loans last fiscal year through about 35,000 payments. In addition to these loans, the impasse in Washington has also shuttered programs that target beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers as a way of boosting a group whose average age is about 58 and trending higher. Add in existing trade- war retaliatory tariffs on the industry and it’s easy to see why farmers are concerned. Merely a few more weeks of shutdown could severely limit a farmer’s ability to produce crops this growing season... a pain that would not only be felt in the heartland, but also in the checkout line of your local supermarket.

The shutdown hits the heartland...

By now you’ve likely read more than a few shutdown horror stories. From trash and flooded toilets at national parks to longer security lines at airports, the shutdown’s effects are being felt well beyond the beltway... and as far away as America’s heartland. This week the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced a three-day stopgap to assist farmers with “urgent business” – things like tax filings and servicing existing loans. The measure provides much-needed relief for some farmers, but will not address the billion- dollar question on the minds of others... “Will we get paid?” The hang-up here involves the USDA’s Farm Service Agency, or FSA. Farming is an expensive and somewhat unpredictable business. Your typical farmer spends a lot of money up front (for things like seeds, equipment, and land) with the expectation that his/her crop yield will cover these costs

Closer to recession?...

When news of the government shutdown hit in late December, many expected it to


January 2019

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