The partial government shutdown is in its third week, and it’s beginning to have an affect on local farmers who are already suffering from the current trade disputes with China.
This past fall, the USDA issued a round of relief payments to help make up for the loss in value for many crops. Now farmers aren’t getting the second round of those checks because of the government shutdown.
This is the time of year when farmers like Bob Haselwood are fixing equipment and getting ready to plant the next crop. Right now, the soybeans he grows aren’t worth what they were last year.
“We’re at least a dollar less, maybe even a dollar-fifty less than we were at this time a year ago,” Haselwood said.
Although he’s still a long way from planting season, now is when he needs to start buying seed.
“Of our total operating budget we could spend half of it here this month,” Haselwood said.
Because of the low price of his crop, he has to find other ways to make ends meet.
“Cash flow will be a little different, so I might have to sell some more grain quicker than I ordinarily would have to make things work,” he said.
K-State Research and Extension Shawnee County agriculture agent Leroy Russell said the shutdown is also impacting ranchers. Ranchers are no longer receiving livestock disaster checks.
“We were in a drought, that’d become a serious problem for our livestock people because they had to buy extra hay and they had to buy different things,” Russell said.
Although the relief checks are delayed at a time when farmers need them to prepare for the coming year, Haselwood said he thinks most farmers will do fine.
Soybean farmers aren’t the only ones getting assistance payments because of the trade war. Farmers are also getting assistance for producing corn, dairy milk, hogs, sorghum, and wheat.