House Agriculture chairman Collin Peterson floated a bill on Wednesday to keep local USDA offices open during any future government shutdowns. “There’s no sense not to have them working,” he said. “Couldn’t agree more,” responded Sonny Perdue.
Federal meat inspectors are reporting to work without pay during the partial government shutdown, said an industry trade group on Wednesday, as the USDA called on 9,700 furloughed FSA employees to reopen offices nationwide today to serve farmers and ranchers.
A coalition of 19 farm and advocacy groups and lenders wrote a letter to members of Congress Wednesday urging them not to raise the cap on loans issued by the Farm Service Agency.
With commodity prices and farm income in a slump, Senate Agriculture chairman Pat Roberts called on USDA to send subsidy checks to growers due on their 2014 crops. "According to law, payments to eligible producers ... were to start on October 1 or as soon as practicable," said the Kansas Republican in a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.