Farmers feeling the effects of government shutdown - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Farmers feeling the effects of government shutdown

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Eau Claire (WQOW) - Information is power, and right now, some farmers may feel powerless because of the government shutdown. A report they use as a guide is now offline. Their job is built around production. Now they hope the federal government begins to produce results again soon.

"What we're pretty much doing is just going by observation day to day," said Mark Hagedorn, UW-Extension Agriculture Agent

Farmers across Wisconsin depend on the weekly crop report. It usually comes out on Mondays but not this week.

"Crop progress, planting, tillage, harvesting, is it dry out? How do things appear? This entire collection of information is no longer available to us," explained Hagedorn.

Thanks to the government shutdown, farmers are left looking at their fields unsure of how it stacks up.

"If you ask me next week what's going on on the east side, unless I've visited with someone, I have no idea. It just sort of makes it difficult for people to talk within the industry to try and understand just exactly what's going on where," Hagedorn said.

And even if crops around here are in good shape...

"The markets are dependent on these reports. So if the market is in flux because no one is going to put in bids not knowing what the market is going to be, then the markets are slowed down," said Jane Mueller, Mueller Hilltop Farms Owner.

There's also the issue of the farm bill, which sets the tone for milk prices. That legislation is on hold in the midst of the government stalemate.

"Knowing a better, more consistent price for the dairy farmers is what we need. We need that safety net that we can plan for or if we want to expand or if we don't want to expand," Mueller said.

For anyone thinking of expanding, any projects with federal help need to be checked by a federal employee.

"A producer was ready to start doing some work on a barnyard manure reception type area. In this case, there's no engineer available because they're furloughed, so this project has come to a screeching halt," Hagedorn said.

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