When the federal government shut down for 16 days, it affected parts of the economy that aren’t as immediately apparent as zoos and national parks.

One of these is the harvesting of Florida produce.

Florida growers and other agricultural employers who cannot find domestic workers to harvest their crops turn to the H-2A visa program to find a legal foreign work force. Growers say the H-2A system is confusing to navigate with no guarantee their needs will be met. The grower may not correctly estimate the number of workers that will be needed to plant and harvest a crop because of unforeseen weather events and other disruptions.

It’s also expensive and time-consuming. But when it works, employers can assume they will have a legal workforce to get their crops to market.

When the government shuts down, it throws a wrench into an already shaky machine. In this case, the wrench was thrown in Chicago.