The cotton harvest is quickly approaching, but this year's government shutdown could likely create some problems.
"It's a little difficult to know this early in the process, but we know there are some things already that are going to affect producers," said Steve Verett, Plains Cotton Growers' executive vice president. "There are a few key people that are there making sure things are protected and shut down and done properly, but I mean, if you call those places there's nobody to talk to."
One of those agencies is the USDA. The agency is important at many stages of the cotton process, and growers rely on them for information.
On Wednesday the USDA website read, "Due to the lapse in federal government funding, this website is not available." It is the same note that was on the door of the local USDA office.
Farming loans have also been put on hold. These loans help growers market their crops and have money while they wait for a buyer. When that buyer comes in, they sell those crops at market price and pay off their loans.
"It's very important because that's the way the market functions," Verett said. "So the shutdown just upsets things and just disturbs or disrupts the marketing chain. And I guess you couldn't have picked a worse time for this to happen, because harvest is going to be well underway in another two or three weeks."
Growers agree that the longer the shutdown lasts, the more problems will arise. That is why they want Congress to resolve the issue.
"We would like to speak to them and resolve the issue," said Wallace Darneille, Plains Cotton Cooperative president and CEO. "Certainly, it could impact the cash flow of farmers. A farmer that has his cotton sold to a third party may not be able to deliver it. America's farmers are collateral damage in a political fight."
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