Farmers feeling impact as federal government shutdown drags on

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- Area farmers are feeling the impact of the federal government shutdown. 

With the shutdown comes the closure of the Farm Service Agency. John Urbanchuk, chair of the Department of Agribusiness at Delaware Valley University, says that means farmers can't order seeds or supplies, and they can't claim tariff relief promised to them as a result of the Trump administration's trade war with China.

"And the Farm Service Agency is that part of the USDA that farmers go to for any of the payments or relief that farmers would qualify for," Urbanchuck said.

He says if the shutdown does, in fact, extend several months as the president threatened, the country's meat and poultry could be compromised.

"Every poultry processing plant, every meat processing plant has USDA inspectors that inspect the animals and inspect the process," Urbanchuck explained. "Now, for the time being, those facilities are still open."

And as the shutdown extends into uncharted territory, in Philadelphia, residents, including school children who rely on food assistance, could be hit hard if the government is still closed past February:

"Eighty percent of the money that's appropriated every year for agriculture programs doesn't go to farmers at all, 80 percent of it goes to consumers in the form of those supplemental nutrition assistance payments."