Northfield farmer waiting on government shutdown to rebuild damaged farm

January 15, 2019 06:44 PM

The government shutdown, now the longest on record, has suspended some federal aid for farmers, including subsidies for farmers hit by the president's tariffs. It also means farmers don't have the USDA data they need to plan ahead for the next planting season. But for one farmer from Northfield, the shutdown means even more.

"We're basically starting from scratch," said Bruce Peterson, a Northfield farmer who grows corn and soybeans.

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Peterson's farm was damaged after several tornadoes ripped across his land on Sept. 20, 2018. He lost his entire grain facility which included 11 grain bins, several hopper bins and a silo.


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The clock is ticking, and he needs to begin rebuilding. Ideally, construction would begin in April in order to be done in time for harvest in September. But Peterson is still waiting on a government loan. The loan would come through the Farm Service Agency, a subsidiary of the USDA, which has not been operating since Dec. 28 due to the government shutdown.

Peterson says he's gotten alternative financing for other buildings, but the financing for the most important part of his business is at a standstill... much like the negotiations at the nation's Capitol.

"We're kind of getting in this pattern where it seems like there is dysfunction in Washington, and this is stepping it up another level," he said.

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Ellen Galles

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