Government Shutdown Impacts Farmers - Newschannel 6 Now | Wichita Falls, TX

Government Shutdown Impacts Farmers

The drought is dealing low blows to Texoma farmers and now on top of that, the government shutdown is hurting them financially.

Here's the first problem. A new farm bill was scheduled for a vote in congress back in September. However, the government's bickering over who's at fault for the shutdown pushed the new one to the back burner and left the old one in place.

"The second thing that comes into play is the direct deposits producers should be getting right now based on the current farm bill," said Stan Bevers, an economist and professor at Texas AgriLife Extension Services.

Bevers said the direct payments are subsidies farmers get if they plant certain crops during the year. The subsidy checks are now on hold. That means wheat growers in Texoma could be about $5 an acre short.

"It takes so much expense to put in a wheat crop. Given what we get for the wheat once we sell it, even $5 an acre sometimes is our profit," said Bevers.

Land owners who are part of the Conservation Reserve Program are also on the waiting game for subsidy checks. However, the low blows from the shutdown don't stop there. 

Bevers said, "USDA collects a lot of market information. When I say market information I'm talking about how much cattle is selling for, how much wheat sells for or how much cotton sells for and they post those on their website."

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's website is currently unavailable. Bevers said, that has left Texoma farmers in the dark.

 

Tanya De Jesus, Newschannel 6

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