MADISON (WKOW)-- Farmers and dairy producers are starting to feel the affects of the federal government shutdown. During the last day of this year's World Dairy Expo in Madison the topic was on the minds of many who attended the show.
"How can you plan for a future when you don't know what that future is going to be? That's a huge part of our business is this planning," dairy producer Audrey Donahoe says.
The shutdown is creating a lot of anxiety for farmers for who are trying to set plans for next year. Donahoe says her family has been farming for five generations and she can't recall a time when there was this much uncertainty in the industry.
"It creates tough times for us as producers to continue to run our business," Donahoe says. "We work hard every day taking care of our animals as it is."
Wisconsin's agriculture secretary says the shutdown could delay payments to farmers who rely on the Milk Income Loss Program. Farmers who have loans through the Farm Service Agency are also affected because the agency is closed during the shutdown.
Farmers say what they're most concerned about is the lack of a Farm Bill. With congress and the senate focusing their attention on the current government shutdown it's likely that Farm Bill discussions will be put on hold for quite some time. Without a Farm Bill, prices for dairy products could go up.
"We don't want milk to go up. We don't want it to be a really high price. We have an awesome product we want to get out there," dairy producer Marilyn Hershey says. "Our goal is to get as much product out the door as we can."
Some agriculture experts believe the price to consumers could go up as much as 50%, but producers are confident the government will step in before that happens.
"We're trying to make connections with our senators that are working down there with congressmen that are making our laws," Hershey says. "Really that's the best we can do."
Dairy producers say the government shutdown hasn't changed their day to day operations yet. They continue to tend to their animals and their crops as they wait for a resolution to be made.
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