Government shutdown cancels online-help session at farm show
The federal government’s partial shutdown hit the floor of the the Fort Wayne Farm Show this morning.
Those attending heard an announcement that Thursday’s ’s afternoon session on online help offered by the U.S. Department of Agriculture wouldn’t take place.
The program was canceled because the speaker for the USDA’s Farm Service Agency has been furloughed, said Derek Thompson, district conservationist for the National Resources Conservation Service in DeKalb County.
The two agencies are housed in the same building, and the Farm Service office has been dark since Dec. 28, he said.
Although also a federal worker, Thompson said he was able to present at a session this morning because his agency’s funding comes from a source not affected by the partial shutdown.
Some of those in attendance weren’t perturbed by the lack of the seminar but didn’t like the shutdown in general.
“There’s so much that’s uncertain this year,” said farmer Philip Martin of Van Wert, Ohio. “It’s hard to know what to think.”
Fred Cline, general manager of Tradexpo, the show’s promoter, suspected the cancellation last week.
The same thing happened earlier in January at a show in Topeka, Kansas, he said then.
Cline this afternoon said attendance during the show’s first day exceeded 7,000, up from last year’s 6,700.
Attendance Wednesday was expected to rival last year’s 18,247 because of longer show hours, he said.
The show, which has free admission, is open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday.