Government shutdown impacting mid-state farmers

Posted: 4:52 PM, Jan 10, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-11 00:57:25Z

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Farmers from throughout Middle Tennessee and Southern Kentucky are feeling uncertainty due to the federal government shutdown.

Farming Services Agency (FSA) offices are shutdown and farmers have no way to report their crop yields to prepare for 2019. Farm owner Brandon Whitt of Batey Farms said it just stacks up on an already fragile agriculture industry.

"What we're looking at this time is the supply and demand," said Whitt. "Specifically, looking at the soy bean supplies and the demand. China has said they're purchasing more and more soy beans over the last six weeks or so, we need to see those in the reports. We need to know that it's actually happening, so the market can play itself out in its natural fashion."

Some Soy Bean farmers are still harvesting from 2018, they cannot report their harvests to the federal government. So, they are also unable to receive Market Facilitation Payments that were promised by the federal government. Trade tariffs in 2018 caused large losses for numerous crops, including soy.

"We were fully invested into a crop, it was planted, the money was invested into that 2018 crop. Then all of the sudden this trade war came on and our markets dropped here by about 28%. A farm does not operate on that type of net profit to be able to absorb a 28% loss of income," said Whitt.

Whitt said the amount paid would not make up for such a large percent loss, but anything helps.

He said it's difficult not knowing what the influence of politics will do to his farm.