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Shutdown worries Wabash Valley farmers

A partial government shutdown has some farmers nervous.

Posted: Jan. 4, 2019 10:25 PM

Cory, Ind. (WTHI) - A partial government shutdown has some farmers nervous.

2018 was a stressful year for many farmers as a trade war with China caused the price of soybeans to plummet.

Now a partial government shutdown has some farmers worried they may not get government subsidies to offset the money they lost due to the changing market. The shutdown also has them waiting on loans and needed data.

Dwight Ludwig raises soybeans and corn on his Clay County, Indiana farm. He says 2018 was a great year for yields but the trade war with China took a chunk out of the profits.

"The supply was huge and the demand wasn't there anymore so the price just plummeted there, probably almost two dollars on soybeans and of course corn, they work hand in hand so corn follows it too so it really hurt the local farmers here."

Ludwig, like many farmers, took advantage of the government Market Facilitation Program or MFP. It was created to help growers who were hurt by retaliatory tariffs.

Ludwig explains farmers can get $1.65 through MFP for every bushel of soybeans raised.

Luckily for him, he already applied for and received his subsidy payments but due to the shutdown, some farmers may have to wait for help.

The deadline to apply is January 15th but that may need to be pushed back since applications cannot be processed right now.

Employees with the U.S. Department of Agriculture have been furloughed so that also means farmers cannot get low-interest loans they may need to plan for next season.

"Anything that you have borrowed that you want to pay back, you're just going to keep collecting interest on that and not be able to pay it back or, if you're wanting to borrow, the funds aren't going to be available."

Ludwig says needed data charting supply and demand for next season is also out of reach.

Now farmers like Ludwig are holding their breaths and hoping the government is re-opened and new trade deals are reached.

"I think at the end of it all we'll be happy where we are, it's just going to be painful getting there. It’s weighing pretty hard on a lot of guys, I know that."

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