Connecticut Farmers are Hurt by the Shutdown, Too

Oct 15, 2013

Connecticut farmers rely on certain government agencies for financial and technical support.
Credit Coventry Regional Farmers' Market

Connecticut farmers say their business has been disrupted during the ongoing government shutdown. Bonnie Burr, assistant director for Cooperative Extension at the University of Connecticut, said farmers are frustrated by the closure of agencies run by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Burr works with communities around the state on economic development opportunities. 

"One of the things the farm service agency does," Burr said, "is provide loans to farmers for not only their actual purchase of land, property, and things like that, but also to help them get guaranteed loans from other institutions. All of those programs have come to a halt."

Another agency whose employees are on furlough is the Natural Resources Conservation Service. "Their engineers are not able to be out in the field," Burr said, "making sure that projects farmers are putting in are being done to code." Connecticut may not have large-scale agriculture like the midwest, but Burr said the state’s small farms are generally very productive.

Burr explained, "That’s in part because of the work we do do with the federal government, in terms of making sure we have our business plans in place, our dairy programs in place, and our feed programs in place." She said farmers are awaiting word from Washington, D.C. that they can get back to the business of farming.