Local farmers feel impact of federal shutdown

News

The ongoing federal shutdown is impacting the agriculture sector, here in West Texas, and beyond. Tom Green County Farm Bureau director Gene Gully explained how in an interview with KLST and KSAN News.

“While the FSA office is shut down some of the farmers that have FSA loans are unable to get in and make their payments,” Gully said. “And, to make their plans for next years loan. They need to get in and turn in their paperwork and start that process. With the shutdown, nobody’s there, we’re unable to do that.”

The shutdown has also halted the release of the annual crop yield estimates report, which is needed to plan out how much will be planted. The lack of that report may also interfere with cotton and grain pricing. Additionally, the MFP assistance program that helps offset market losses from recent tariffs is also frozen. But, that is not all.

The NRCS,” explained Gully, “they’re a group that helps us a lot with our conservation. They give us a lot of guidance and help on irrigation, construction, and terracing and mainly conservation practices for the soil. They have not been shut down yet, because they work out of a different pool of money – however, they’re expected any day now to be shut down.”

The impacts don’t stop at those producing crops. In addition to farmers, ranchers in the area have also been impacted by the shutdown as it has limited their access to FSA feed assistance for their livestock. But even with so much on hold and possibly more impacts to come, Gully says, they are not merely concerned for themselves.

“The whole countryside is affected by government shutdown,” said Gully. “We see the people on vacation reaching parks that are shut down. People with jobs not at work, or people who work in our FSA office plus all the other offices not receiving their pay at this time. Their life goes on, they still have payments to make. So they’re all struggling, the pressure – a week or two is one thing but as we continue the pressure definitely gets much greater.”

Going forward, only time will tell just how long the shutdown will last and how much damage it will do.

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