No Blizzard Relief Just Yet for Cattle Ranchers Due to Shutdown


The government shutdown has continuedon and its effects reach into the agriculture industry here in Nebraska and thesurrounding areas.

Normal activities, like harvesting,continue but the help needed after a natural disaster is not there. Because ofthe furloughs experts report some ranchers won't get compensated until afterthe shutdown ends.

Glynn Tonsor, A KSU agriculturalEconomist, said "for example, if you're in South Dakota, there's a hugeblizzard that's gone through and resulted in the loss of lots of cattle.Typically, under normal working procedures, those producers would be eligiblefor funds from livestock indemnity program that helps offset some of thoselosses."

With the shutdown still under way hesaid "as of now, during the shutdown, those South Dakota producers cannotapply."

That isn't the only effect holdingback the ag industry.

The USDA does not have employees atthe major auction markets to document the price of calves being sold. Thatinformation is usually put on the USDA website and helps producers know when tosell their calves or corn. Without that information producers aren't veryconfident.

These things will return to normalwhen the furloughs end but the data won't be restored.

"Some of those things will just goback to normal operating procedure and some things will never fill back in,"said Tonsor.

He said "the longer the shutdown, thelonger the gaps, the bigger of a problem it creates, but for the most part Ianticipate things to go back to normal procedure in the ag markets."

Once the shutdown ends producers likethe ones in South Dakota will then be able to apply for financial help.