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Govt shutdown affects cotton market‏

Oct 02, 2013 8:05 PM CDT
By Alex Zielinski

LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The cotton harvest is quickly approaching, but this
year's government shutdown could likely create some problems.

"It's a little difficult to know this early in the process, but we know
there are some things already that are going to affect producers," said
Steve Verett, Plains Cotton Growers' executive vice president. "There are
a few key people that are there making sure things are protected and shut
down and done properly, but I mean, if you call those places there's
nobody to talk to."

One of those agencies is the USDA. The agency is important at many stages
of the cotton process, and growers rely on them for information.

On Wednesday the USDA website read, "Due to the lapse in federal
government funding, this website is not available." It is the same note
that was on the door of the local USDA office.

Farming loans have also been put on hold. These loans help growers market
their crops and have money while they wait for a buyer. When that buyer
comes in, they sell those crops at market price and pay off their loans.

"It's very important because that's the way the market functions," Verett
said. "So the shutdown just upsets things and just disturbs or disrupts
the marketing chain. And I guess you couldn't have picked a worse time
for this to happen, because harvest is going to be well underway in
another two or three weeks."

Growers agree that the longer the shutdown lasts, the more problems will
arise. That is why they want Congress to resolve the issue.

"We would like to speak to them and resolve the issue," said Wallace
Darneille, Plains Cotton Cooperative president and CEO. "Certainly, it
could impact the cash flow of farmers. A farmer that has his cotton sold
to a third party may not be able to deliver it. America's farmers are
collateral damage in a political fight."

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