Farmers fear sequester could cost them - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Farmers fear sequester could cost them

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Cattle farmer, Garry Henry waits to see how the sequester will affect his calf prices. Cattle farmer, Garry Henry waits to see how the sequester will affect his calf prices.
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There's no denying it, farmers face unpredictable circumstances each and every day.

Weather, feed prices and now...the sequester.

"The talk of it for the last month or so has affected the markets to a degree," says cattle farmer, Garry Henry.

Henry is currently preparing himself for what could be a drastic change to the way he operates his cattle farm.

Right now, the USDA is considering furloughs for meat inspectors at processing plants around the country.

"The animals wouldn't flow through the process like they normally would. If they can't move the cattle out of the lots, into the processor then they're not going to be willing to pay as much for our calves," adds Henry.

Farmers hope Congress and the USDA can agree to make cuts in other areas of the department as to not affect the daily operations of farms.

"I think there's still some areas where those cuts would be less impactful," says Mitt Walker, Director for National Legislative Programs at the Alabama Farmers Federation.

Walker travels to Washington, D.C. each month advocating for Alabama farmers.

He believes the USDA will eventually find other areas to slash the budget, but one thing is for sure.

"some of the programs that our farmers depend on to help with risk management, disaster assistance, those types of things, I think right now we're looking somewhere around a $4-million dollar cut for the rest of this year."

That...on top of possible furloughs for meat inspectors has Henry crossing his fingers for his farm's future.

"Anytime you disrupt the market it sends waves back down to us."

The effects of sequestration also mean fewer dollars going toward the Farm Bill which expires in September.

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