(NAFB)--National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson says the prolonged government shutdown is having a big impact on family farmers and ranchers. In a letter to U.S. Senate and House of Representatives leadership Thursday - Johnson wrote that solutions are close at hand but Congress chooses not to execute them. He noted the recent blizzard in parts of the Great Plains that claimed the lives of tens of thousands of cattle and the continuing cleanup and recovery from floods in Colorado. While USDA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are prepared to handle events like these - Johnson said the shutdown and expired farm bill leaves ranchers without the urgent help they need. He noted the House and Senate versions of the pending farm bill include a retroactive livestock indemnity provision that would provide much-needed assistance to ranchers but can’t be accessed because of the legislative stalemate. NFU notes nearly all USDA services have stopped because of the government shutdown. Johnson says family farmers, ranchers and rural communities shouldn’t be forced to suffer the consequences of legislative breakdowns and political handwringing in the nation’s capital.