Local Farmers Feeling Affects of Government Shutdown
Monday marks day 24 of the government shutdown with no end in sight. Farmers across Alabama are paying the price.
“When the trade war started, commodity prices plummeted,” Pike and Coffee County farmer Troy Fillingim says. “So the Trump administration came out with some government assistance to supplement the commodity prices.”
Fillingim is a cotton, corn, and peanut farmer. He says farmers are dealing with the large amounts of rainfall, and the government shutdown is adding to those problems.
“Right now, we would be able to collect that money and we’re not being able to because of the government shutdown.”
First-generation farmer Erick Wright owns Xi Kush Farms in Montgomery. He says he paid an up-front cost to build a greenhouse on his farm land, with the expectation to receive that money back. So far, no word on when he may see those funds.
“We know that if we complete this discipline our funds should be given to us,” Wright says. “And with the government shutdown, it’s almost like not knowing are we gonna be able to pay the bills, are we gonna have to start using our credit cards?”
Wright is keeping in mind that he’s not the only one going through the hardship. Government workers are also being furloughed.
“It’s sad that they’re so hard working, but they don’t even know if they should show up to work. And that’s sad”
If the shutdown reaches February, Fillingim says time would become even more critical.
“A lot of trade shows starts, peanut days starts, that kind of stuff. And everybody starts getting their seed lined up for the coming year,” Fillingim says. “And crop insurance sale closing is February 28th so you have to make your decisions on what you want to do with that.”
About 800,000 federal employees are furloughed, which includes the major agriculture agencies like the USDA and the Farm Service Agency.