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How The Government Shutdown Is Affecting Pennsylvania Farmers


People who don't work for the federal government are also noticing the impact of the shutdown. We sent NPR's Jeff Brady to the Pennsylvania Farm Show to talk with people there about the government closures, the border wall and President Trump's Oval Office speech tonight.

JEFF BRADY, BYLINE: The Farm Show is a big deal in Pennsylvania. And one of the popular events is the livestock auction.


UNIDENTIFIED AUCTIONEER: OK, folks, it's auction time at the Harrisburg Farm Show.

BRADY: Behind the auctioneer is a barn where animals wait in pens.


BRADY: Katie Hutton of Mechanicsburg, Pa., is a stay-at-home mom and is holding one of her children. She says the shutdown hasn't affected her personally, but...

KATIE HUTTON: I have seen a lot of the effects as far as the national parks go, and it's disappointing. Like, if we wanted to take the kids to D.C., I know that we couldn't go to any of the museums or the zoo. And that's disappointing for us, but really for everybody that - all the workers that have been affected.

BRADY: Hutton is a Democrat and not a fan of President Trump. She thinks he should begin his address tonight with an apology for the shutdown. The effects of the shutdown are less of a concern for President Trump's base in Pennsylvania, though.

DAVE ARNDT: My opinion about the wall is it probably should be built.

BRADY: Republican Dave Arndt is retired and echoes the arguments the president and his supporters concerned about immigration often mention.

ARNDT: I look at it like they're coming in here, taking the American people - or the citizens especially, taking their jobs and costing us money. I think the president needs to hold his ground.

BRADY: Nearby, Sharon Marsteller says she also supports the president. Still, when he addresses the nation tonight, she wants a message of compromise that will lead to an end to the shutdown.

SHARON MARSTELLER: I would like to hear him say that the Democrats and him are working together, and it's going to be resolved soon.

BRADY: And what would you like to hear from people in Congress then? Because that's kind of...

MARSTELLER: I would like to hear people in Congress say, we recognize that it is important to have a secure border, and we will work with the president.

BRADY: For some here, the immigration issue is secondary. One couple didn't want to talk on the air. They're federal workers on furlough and say they just want to get back to work. They were among the few here who say they're personally affected by the shutdown. Still, nearly everyone hopes it will end soon.

KAYLA JONAS: I'm Kayla Jonas. I'm from Wayne County. And here I am today with Brutus, my pig.

BRADY: Jonas is waiting to take Brutus to the auction. She doesn't seem at all squeamish about what's going to happen to Brutus soon. But ask her about the president's wall proposal and immigrants at the border, and her concern is obvious.

JONAS: I don't think it's a good idea. I think we're all put on this earth to all - as a community and everyone - to love each other, and we're all just trying to make a living in the world, our family. So I think that that's something that shouldn't even be done to begin with.

BRADY: Jonas also says she's concerned about federal employees who aren't receiving paychecks. Our conversation is interrupted when the announcer calls her name.



BRADY: And with that, Jonas is off to the auction arena with Brutus.

Good luck.

JONAS: Thank you.

BRADY: Jeff Brady, NPR News, Harrisburg, Pa.

(SOUNDBITE OF P.KEYS' "THE SAMURAI") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Jeff Brady is a National Desk Correspondent based in Philadelphia, where he covers energy issues and climate change. Brady helped establish NPR's environment and energy collaborative which brings together NPR and Member station reporters from across the country to cover the big stories involving the natural world.
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