Government Website Shutdown Affects Farmers - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Government Website Shutdown Affects Farmers

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BOZEMAN -

It's day six of the Federal Government shutdown. Government employees are out of work and all Government websites are not accessible.

Many farmers across Montana depend on the marketplace and Government money to run their business. The National Agricultural Statistics Service is a website run by the Government that helps farmers make marketing decisions such as what crops to grow and when to sell them.

"The website complies crop data for corn and soy bean," said John Youngberg, Farm Bureau Vice President Governmental Affairs. "Then, agriculture people can look at that and it gives them an idea of what the commodity is in the United States."

Bruce Wright owns a farm north of Bozeman. Right now, he's not too worried about the market place.

"In the short-term I don't think it's going to be much. It would be missed if it was shut down for a long time," said Wright.

But with the website shutdown, Youngberg said  the United States information is not being accounted for which could cause the market to skew.

"Without the website there is uncertainty that could affect how the markets look in the future for some of those commodities," said Youngberg.
 
He said it won't have an immediate effect on farmers and ranchers, but in the long-run it could drop crop prices.

"Without having the United States numbers in the data, we don't know what the whole world supply is and demand balance will be and that affects the commodity price," said Youngberg.

Still, Wright said there are other websites he can use, but the National Agriculture Statistics Service is very useful.

"It's another tool that will help me make good decisions," said Wright.

He hopes Government reaches an agreement soon.

"There's always uncertainty when we don't know what's going on, which is the case here now," said Wright.

According to the Census of Agriculture in 2007 there were over 29,000 farms in Montana.

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