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Ranchers: Government shutdown restricts cattle transactions

January 18, 2019

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) — South Dakota ranchers say the partial government shutdown is stalling some cattle sales because checks from buyers require authorization from the Farm Service Agency.

Ranchers who have an FSA loan need an agent to co-sign the check before it can be cashed or deposited, the Rapid City Journal reported .

Laurie and Bernard Barnaud have been farming and ranching just east of the Belle Fourche Reservoir since 1993. They were scheduled to drive to town to sell around 50 calves today.

“We can sell them, but we can’t get our money,” Laurie said from her ranch in Nisland. “They will hand us a check, and it will sit pinned on the refrigerator until the government opens up. This is our income, and it’s unavailable to us.”

Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue addressed the issue by announcing early Wednesday that roughly half of the nation’s FSA offices would open Thursday, Friday and Tuesday, including 25 offices in South Dakota. But the ranchers contend all the problems caused by the shutdown won’t be rectified in a few days.

They’re still required to pay off the 2018 operating loans before securing a new loan for 2019. Those services won’t be available during the brief availability.

“I don’t want their pity. I want action,” Laurie asserted. “Everybody knows what happens when you don’t pay the bills.”

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, http://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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