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Okie Farmers, Ranchers Feel Government Shutdown Pinch

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Experts say there's a risk that many producers will need to take out loans or look for other places to get funding. Experts say there's a risk that many producers will need to take out loans or look for other places to get funding.
STILLWATER -

Oklahoma farmers and ranchers, who receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in government subsidies each year, won't see a dime during the government shutdown.

Experts say there's a risk that many producers will need to take out loans or look for other places to get funding.

"Given … four to six weeks, it will have a major effect on every aspect of agriculture," Oklahoma wheat farmer Paul Fruendt said.

Loan programs are also suspended, and there are other issues. Agricultural professor Kim Anderson with Oklahoma State University says, without the USDA functioning, the agricultural industry becomes an uncertain environment. In the long run, Anderson says the market will level out … just as it has after previous shutdowns.

Even after the shutdown, farmers say they will still be left hoping a financial cushion will be in place to soften the blows of Mother Nature.

"Without that cushion, there's going to be some big problems coming down the line," Fruendt said.

Some farmers say the shutdown is good in the sense that it forces the industry to be less dependent on the USDA and turn to private organizations for reporting and support.

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