Farmers Receive Assistance After Shutdown Ends, New Concerns On Horizon

Alabama farmers have begun receiving their government checks that were delayed during the partial government shutdown.

The shutdown ended January 25th. Now, there are new concerns with a new crop season just days away.

February is a very busy month for farmers, with trade shows and deadlines looming for the upcoming crop season.

“Well the government shutdown came to an end at the end of January and FSA offices have open back up to full status,” Pike and Coffee County farmer Troy Fillingim says.

Farmers have been able to buy seeds, test soil samples and prepare for 2019.

“You know, basically just getting your plan together, what kind of seed or chemicals or fertility, whatever you’re gonna use for the ’19 crop,” Fillingim says. “everybody’s kinda getting that lined up”

But the shutdown delayed assistance from disaster relief programs for farmers affected by Hurricane Michael.

Money has been appropriated, but some farmers don’t know how much they’ll receive, or when they’ll receive it.

“You’re going to see things kind of behind a little bit starting ’19 crop because of the fact that ’18 has just run so far into ’19, with the government shutdown and the weather.”

2018 has been one of the worst crop seasons for farmers, with heavy rainfall and Michael destroying farmlands. Alabama farmers have until February 28th to apply for federal insurance coverage for corn, cotton, and other crops. But their 2018 balances must be paid prior to purchasing insurance for this year.

With another possible government on the horizon next week, farmers are concerned that FSA and USDA offices could once again be closed.

“It’s important the next few days because we’re getting close to starting the new season,” Fillingim says. “I mean, corn planting starts, you know, March first and we’re already in February.”

If a government deal is not reached, another shutdown is looming on february 15th… which could result in more delays for farmers…

Categories: News, Troy