I find it sad and unsettling that in all of the coverage of the Federal Government shutdown, the shuttering of the national parks has gotten more press than the shuttering of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). Not just more press, ANY press. I have not yet heard one mention of the fact that the vast majority of Department of Agriculture is completely shut down, which includes a significant number of USDA employees furloughed in North Carolina. How has this agency, that is so crucial to our Nation's food supply, gone unnoticed during this political embarrassment? Your article mentions 22 Department of Transportation employees and four Department of Environment and Natural Resources employees, but not a peep about USDA. The Natural Resources Conservation Service (one of USDA's many agencies) alone employees over 150 employees across North Carolina. That does not even consider Rural Development, Farm Service Agency, Agricultural Research Service, Risk Management Agency, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, and the Forest Service to name just a few other USDA agencies that employ North Carolinians, in some cases in each and every county of the state. I realize that it is difficult to quantify how many federal employees in North Carolina have been furloughed, but it is kind of a joke to bemoan the furlough of 22 employees and 70 miles of beach when there is a very large, important agency that has been completely ignored. Perhaps if more Americans knew the true impact of the shutdown, there would be more outrage over the amount of work that is going undone, the contracts that are not being honored, and the accomplishments that are being foregone because a group of overgrown kindergartners can't figure out how to get along with each other and do what is best for the country as a whole.
Indy Week • 201 W. Main St., Suite 101, Durham, NC 27701 • phone 919-286-1972 • fax 919-286-4274
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