No Blizzard Relief Just Yet for Cattle Ranchers Due to Shutdown - KHGI-TV/KWNB-TV/KHGI-CD-Grand Island, Kearney, Hastings

No Blizzard Relief Just Yet for Cattle Ranchers Due to Shutdown

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The government shutdown has continued on and its effects reach into the agriculture industry here in Nebraska and the surrounding areas.

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

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

With the shutdown still under way he said "as of now, during the shutdown, those South Dakota producers cannot apply."

That isn't the only effect holding back the ag industry.

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

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

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

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

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

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