Government Shutdown Slowing Tornado Damage Assessments
The partial federal government shutdown is preventing farmers in northwest Iowa from getting needed assessments of crop damage from last week's tornadoes. As many as nine storms went through the region October 4th and flattened thousands of acres of corn and soybeans in Iowa, Nebraska and South Dakota. Workers in the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Farm Service Agency have been furloughed by the shutdown. A damage assessment by the FSA is one of the first steps for farmers who sustained losses to qualify for low-interest emergency loans or debris-removal assistance. Iowa state officials say farmers should contact their local FCA offices and follow the usual damage-reporting process once the government re-opens.