Acadiana farmers are watching the government shutdown closely because the shutdown could hurt their bottom line.
“We need FSA back up and running after the first of the year,” sugarcane farmer Ricky Gonsoulin said. “So we can report our acres and get some accurate numbers on crop productions so we can report those accordingly.”
Farmers like Gonsoulin rely on those reports to get insurance, grants and loans through the Farm Service Agency.
With FSA offices close, farmers can’t send in their data which could lead to them losing their benefits.
“I got to report my acres of production of cane and what I yielded,” Gonsoulin explained. “They(FSA) report back to the insurance company so we can buy insurance to protect our crops from a disaster. We buy private insurance to protect our crops through FSA.”
“We can see some big implications,” Blair Hebert with the LSUAg Center said. “So far it’s been minimal, but if this thing gets prolonged over several weeks or months it could have drastic effects on agriculture here in Acadiana, Louisiana and the U.S.
The shutdown has also stopped federal payments to farmers hurt by tariffs imposed on China by the Trump Administration.
The Department of Agriculture is trying to help farmers by extending the deadline to apply for those payments. Still, Acadiana farmers are hoping the shutdown ends sooner, rather than later.
“I think my biggest concern with the shutdown is just that they re-open for business in a timely manner,” Gonsoulin said. “So we can do our reporting, so we’re not backed into a corner to report last minute. We can disseminate this information to USDA to implement whatever program they offer . “