The uncertainty created by the federal government shutdown is impacting agriculture markets and making agricultural producers apprehensive about the future. That’s according to Terry Detrick, Ames, Okla., farmer and President of AFR/OFU, one of Oklahoma’s major farm organizations with more than 60,000 members.
“The longer the shutdown continues the greater the impact will be,” Detrick said. “We’re concerned about our farmers and ranchers having access to vital government programs through the Farm Service Agency offices. As we start the new year, farmers and ranchers must start making plans for the upcoming growing season. Oklahoma is the number one state in the nation for processing farm loans. With shuttered FSA offices, they cannot accommodate farmers’ needs.”
Detrick said the government closure is also affecting the new farm bill signed into law right before Christmas.
“The shutdown is slowing implementation of the new farm bill,” Detrick said. “The USDA personnel that are supposed to be writing the new rules for implementing the farm bill are currently furloughed.”
Meanwhile, livestock need to be cared for and the feed bills need to be paid. Detrick said life continues at a busy pace on today’s farms and ranches regardless of a government shutdown. This means expenses keep piling up. Producers operating with FSA loans cannot get their money in time to pay bills and are being hurt the most from this shutdown.
The Ames, Oklahoma said he hopes the shutdown is nearing its conclusion.
“We strongly urge Congress and President Trump to work out a solution as soon as possible,” Detrick said