Government shutdown could affect Northeast Arkansas farmers

Published: Sep. 28, 2023 at 5:49 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 28, 2023 at 6:37 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LAWRENCE COUNTY, Ark. (KAIT) - A government shutdown is just days away if Congress cannot agree on a new spending bill.

The shutdown will affect thousands, if not millions, across the country.

In Northeast Arkansas, farmers in the middle of harvest season could also run into problems if the government does shut down.

“We have a lot of federal employees that provide services. Like USDA inspectors and food processing plants. FSA offices at a particularly important time to be there, we’re in harvest season right now,” said Arkansas District 1 U.S. Representative Rick Crawford.

Farmers across the area say they rely on government agencies like FSA, USDA, and more to run their operations.

“If the government does shut down, these agencies, they’re furloughed or not coming into the office, and we really rely on them,” Lawrence County Farmer Cole Hicks said.

Hicks said luckily, agents in Lawrence County have been preparing for a shutdown, making sure farmers have everything they need should the agencies not be available.

“When these things are happening. When government shutdowns are lurking around, they make sure and have everything ready in case that were to happen,” Hicks explained.

Farmers say while the shutdown is concerning, it will not keep them up at night.

“We’re not going to lay down at night and worry about that. It’s going to happen, or it’s not going to happen. At the end of the day, if the government does or doesn’t shut down, we’re going to be out here getting the crop out. That’s our main concern, and that’s what’s got to take place,” Hicks said.

Rep. Crawford said Washington D.C. is working to try and avoid a shutdown, as there are more consequences than many understand.

“While it may be tempting to say, ‘yeah, go ahead and shut it down,’ what we have seen in the past is the chips falling inflicts a lot of pain,” Crawford said.