Some local agencies feel gov’t shutdown, others dodge affects

The USDA Service Center in Fulton, located at 4549 State Road H, is closed and all employees are furloughed until further notice due to a government shutdown.

The USDA Service Center in Fulton, located at 4549 State Road H, is closed and all employees are furloughed until further notice due to a government shutdown. Photo by Dean Asher.

“Thank you for calling the Callaway County USDA Service Center. Due to lapse in funding, the (center) is closed effective Oct. 1, 2013, until further notice.”

This is the automated message that greeted callers to the service center, following the government shutdown Monday when Congress failed to agree on a budget.

A similar sign was posted on the vacant center, which provides information regarding the Farm Service Agency, Natural Resources Conservation Service, Rural Development agencies and Mark Twain National Forest in Callaway County off State Route H southwest of Fulton. Even the USDA’s website, www.usda.gov, has shut down along with many functions of the federal government.

Several federal agencies, from forestry services to museums to the National Zoo, were forced to close their doors for the first time since the 1990s when the House of Representatives and Senate could not agree on a budget. The stalemate resulted over the Republican-led House’s efforts to block or delay the Affordable Health Care Act.

The effect was felt harder by some agencies in Fulton than others. The U.S. Post Office is one of the “certain essential services” that will remain open in spite of the shutdown.

Though it is a nationally recognized museum, the National Churchill Museum is currently not receiving federal grant funds and will also remain unaffected. SERVE, Inc. also receives federal funds primarily for their CalTran shuttle program, but Executive Director Steve Mallinckrodt said they are dispersed through the Missouri Department of Transportation and the shutdown should not change their ability to function.

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