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Shutdown costing American farmers


Farmers are missing payments from the government meant to help them during the trade fight with China because of the government shutdown, a top official with the American Farm Bureau Federation said Monday.

The official for the group said it is hoping the shutdown that began on Dec. 22 over a fight about President Trump's wall on the Mexican border ends soon.

“We’ve seen a pretty large impact for some producers, that’s where we saw some of the market facilitation payments that are currently delayed because of the government shutdown,” Andrew Walmsley said.

The payments were intended to help farmers who are losing sales or money because of the U.S. trade war with China.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) in December launched its second and final round of trade mitigation payments, but Walmsley, director of congressional relations for the Farm Bureau, says that relief has since temporarily halted due to the budget impasse.

Walmsley also warned that the shutdown is slowing down the implementation of a new farm bill that was passed at the end last year with strong bipartisan support.

“It’s slowing down implementation of the Farm Bill right now because USDA employees aren’t able to work, so something we would like to see folks probably get back to work here pretty soon in Washington,” Walmsley told Hill.TV.

The partial shutdown has entered its third week, impacting an estimated 800,000 federal workers. Vice President Mike Pence met with Democrats over the weekend, but there were no major breakthroughs in negotiations.

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