Partial government shutdown impacts farmers in eastern Carolina


After the damage caused by Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael, farmers in the East are now feeling the effects of the partial government shutdown.

One farmer said he’s ready for the president and Congress to find a compromise. 

“It was a very challenging crop year for eastern North Carolina, between the hurricanes and then a very wet fall,” said Andy Burlingham, a Pitt County Cooperative Extension agent. 

Many farmers haven’t received their funding from the disaster or soybean tariff relief programs. 

USDA funding has stopped during the shutdown, so money from those relief programs has not been distributed. 

Burlingham owns a soybean farm, and he has yet to see a paycheck from the soybean tariff relief program. 

“I did get my information in before the shutdown,” said Burlingham. “But I have not received my check for the soybean tariff relief. Personally, I was able to sell my soybeans. I got the money for selling the beans. This is additional money to help cover the price loss that occurred when the tariffs went into place” 

Farmers are hesitant about the upcoming season because the USDA has not released crop sales, inventory, or exports.  

It won’t affect the price of food at the grocery store, but farm families are facing some challenges.

“You’re not going to see a big impact in the local community for prices of food,” said Burlingham. “Where it is changing now is because they’re not receiving the federal bailout money for crop subsidies. The farm families may be facing challenges on meeting the expenses for their family or for farm expenses” 

“Yes, I think like all people they really want Congress and the president to come to an agreement and find a compromise and move forward and get this government shutdown out of the way,” he said.

Burlingham is ready for the shutdown to be over. 

He’s hoping President Donald Trump will reopen the government temporarily to fund the USDA.

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