Effects of the gov’t shutdown on our local farmers
MARYLAND – Thursday marks the 20th day of the government shutdown and as the days drag on, we start to see the effects right here on Delmarva.
One group who may feel it more than any of us may actually be farmers.
While some effects may be negative, there is some relief to offset losses from the China trade dispute for them.
William Layton, the United Soybean Board and owner of Layton’s Chance says, “United States sold over a quarter of their soybeans to China and to have the tariffs come up, they cut off all purchases of soybeans really negatively affected soybean prices.” Plus, those numbers dipped another $2 after this went into affect.
In order to help their farmers, the USDA had a program where men and women could reap the benefits. “So USDA to help farmers came up with a payment to help compensate them with the amount soybeans went down because prices are already at a 7-year low.”
But with the government shutdown, no one can help out, so they can meet the January 15th deadline to sign up. Because of the wet season, it’s delayed harvesting and in order to apply, farmers need to specify the size of their crop.
“Most years, farmers would be finishing harvesting their crops right around thanksgiving this year I would say majority were in the field December and even some soybeans in the field now,” Layton tells us.
The program deadline has extended the January 15th. Once the government shutdown clears, they will give 15 days extra for farmers to sign up.
The Chairman of the Maryland Soybean Board, Travis Hutchison tells 47 ABC, “Our biggest thing now is we can sign up but when does the government get reopen and be able to send the payments out that’s a lot of operating capital we can use.”
While the Agriculture Department has given them a helping hand, the government shutdown has affected them negatively in other ways. For example, the USDA hasn’t been issuing its market report. “Reports are supposed to come out and that’s what really drives the market up or down and everything. But after reports, I guess we can just go on speculation on trade rumors and whether any countries are buying are product or not.”
Beyond that, certain incentives and programs are also halted.
Layton says, “USDA helps them with loans for grain they have in the tank or beginning farmers things like that and no one is able to take advantage of those programs right now.”
Hutchison says, “I’d like to see Congress come together and get something worked out. The end of a government shutdown wouldn’t just be beneficial for farmers but for the entire country.”