Friday, January 11, 2019

Shutdown Is Pushing Farm Country to Breaking Point

Rural areas predominantly voted for Donald Trump, a/k/a Der Trumpenführer, and now the chickens are coming home to roost as farming communities find themselves reeling as the Trump forced government shutdown grinds on.  Not that Trump has the slightest empathy for those being harmed since his sole concern is to be viewed as "winning" by his despicable base.  Yes, in many cases these voters brought their misfortunes upon themselves by voting for an individual utterly unfit to occupy the White House, but I do worry about the children and youths bearing the cost of their elders' bigotry and racism.  A piece in the New York Times looks at the spreading financial pain being experienced in farm country where some are set to default on mortgages or not receive payments key to their financial survival.  Here are article highlights:
In Georgia, a pecan farmer lost out on his chance to buy his first orchard. The local Farm Service Agency office that would have processed his loan application was shut down.
In Wisconsin’s dairy country, a 55-year-old woman sat inside her new dream home, worried she would not be able to pay her mortgage. Her loan had come from an Agriculture Department program for low-income residents in rural areas, but all of the account information she needed to make her first payment was locked away in an empty government office.
And in upstate New York, Pam Moore was feeding hay to her black-and-white cows at a small dairy that tottered on the brink of ruin . . . .  their last lifeline was an emergency federal farm loan. But the money had been derailed by the government shutdown.
Farm country has stood by President Trump, even as farmers have strained under two years of slumping incomes and billions in losses from his trade wars. But as the government shutdown now drags into a third week, some farmers say the loss of crucial loans, payments and other services has pushed them — and their support — to a breaking point.
While many rural conservatives may loathe the idea of Big Government, farmers and the federal government are welded together by dozens of programs and billions of dollars in spending.
Now, farmers and farm groups say that federal crop payments have stopped flowing. Farmers cannot get federally backed operating loans to buy seed for their spring planting, or feed for their livestock.
“This is real,” said Jeff Witte, president of the National Association of State Departments of Agriculture and New Mexico’s agriculture secretary. “You had farmers who were in the process of closing a loan or getting an operating loan. Now there’s nobody there to service those.”
All week, Joe Schroeder has been listening to shutdown stories pouring into Farm Aid’s hotline. There was the cotton farmer who could not get disaster assistance to help him recover from Hurricane Michael. The woman in her 90s facing foreclosure on her family farm. The dairy farmer trying to make one last attempt to renegotiate her loan with the Farm Service Agency.  “You cannot reach anybody,” Mr. Schroeder said.
Many farmers, including David Nunnery, 59, of Pike County, Miss., have stayed unflinchingly loyal to Mr. Trump and his demands for $5.7 billion for a border wall, even as the shutdown threatens their livelihood.  “I may lose the farm, but I strongly feel we need some border security,” Mr. Nunnery said.
But Davinder Singh, 41, the Georgia pecan farmer, said the border wall was not worth the price he had already paid — losing out on the chance to finally buy his own orchard instead of working other people’s land.
States like Wisconsin, which lost at least 638 dairy farms last year, are particularly vulnerable.  The new farm bill passed in December contained programs to help dairy farmers weather swings in the market, and to help farmers struggling with stress and depression get mental health services. But those programs cannot be put in effect during the shutdown, said Senator Tammy Baldwin, Democrat of Wisconsin.
“We’re being played the stooge,” he said.
In New York’s farming communities, the shutdown is heaping additional pain onto farmers after a year of tariff losses, destructive weather and labor shortages because of the Trump administration’s immigration crackdowns.
In Ovid, N.Y., it has left John Myer seething at Mr. Trump as he waits for at least $15,000 owed to him under the trade bailout. . . . “You could hardly call it a political stunt,” said Mr. Myer, who voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. “It’s a personal power stance because he doesn’t really care about anything, I don’t think, besides himself.”
This week, as Ms. Moore, the struggling dairy farmer, sipped coffee at Sallie’s Country Kitchen on Main Street in the 2,500-person town of Nichols, she said it felt like her financial problems were closing in. . . . . With little money left for food, she went to a food pantry on Thursday afternoon, picking out frozen fruits and vegetables, pasta, bread, dried beans and some onions to cook when her 9-year-old grandson visited later in the week.
For those who voted for Trump and continue to support him, I will pull out my tiny violin.  For others who oppose Trump's toxic regime and are suffering harm, especially children, I do feel great sympathy, even as Trump cares nothing about their pain.  All that matters is "winning" to satiate his foul ego.  Not my president.

1 comment:

EdA said...

How about that?!?

And yet the trumpanzees STILL voted for Republiscum, and almost all the Republiscum in the House voted AGAINST re-opening the Department of Agriculture.