Area farmers feel the effects of government shutdown

By: Victoria Maranan Email
By: Victoria Maranan Email

GRAYSON CO, TX-When the government shut down 10 days ago, so did the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Area farmers said if the shutdown continues, it will affect their benefits and a farm bill they depend on for their livelihood.

Grayson county farmer and rancher, Ben Wible, said the government owes him $20,000.

"We were supposed to get our last deficiency checks in the month of October," he said.

Deficiency payments are part of a food insurance program in the recent farm bill that helps farmers--like Wible--stay in business. He said since the farm bill expired the day the shut down started, he and thousands of farmers nationwide will have to wait for the money they depend on.

"It could be December before anything happens. I think this would be a longer shutdown than expected and I think this would be serious before it's over with," he said.

Wible said he's also waiting for disaster insurance from the USDA after his livestock went through a two-year drought.

A few miles north, farmer and rancher Aaron Looney said his greatest concern is more furloughs.

"If they furlough the meat inspectors for the cattle industry, it will be disastrous," he said.

He said if meat inspectors are furloughed, ranchers could lose thousands of dollars because they wouldn't be able to sell cattle to slaughterhouses.

With no sign of how long the government will be closed for business, both Wible and Looney said all they can do now is sit and wait.

"I'm gonna continue doing everything what I normally do. I'm gonna plant oats tomorrow and wheat next week like I normally do," said Wible.

"Surely they'll work it out," said Looney.


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