Today, the federal government is open for business. And while that is good news, there will still be some effects felt for a few days:
- The USDA’s website is up and will be updated over the next few days. USDA agencies, such as the Farm Service Agency, should be staffed as of this morning.
- Because FSA is staffed, that will allow farmers and ranchers to get checks signed by the FSA, if applicable to their situation.
- Certain statistical reports from the National Agriculture Statistical Service and World Agricultural Outlook Board will be cancelled or delayed because necessary data was not able to be collected during the shutdown. Cancelled reports are the Crop Production and Cotton Ginnings reports from NASS and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates from WAOB, both scheduled for October 11. The next release date is November 8. Crop Progress reports scheduled for October 7 and October 15 are cancelled. The October 18 Cattle on Feed report is postponed.
- The Federal Reserve did release information on the state of the economy, including information from each Federal Reserve district concerning agricultural production.
- No word yet on when direct payments will come out but I would expect those to begin showing up shortly.
It is easy to conflate the government shutdown with the lack of passage of the Farm Bill. However, while the expiration of the Farm Bill and government shutdown occurred on the same date (October 1), they are, in fact, two separate albeit related issues. Lets go through the status of each:
There is not much more to say other than it continues. As of this writing, the Senate is hammering out a potential deal to re-open the government and extend the debt ceiling. The government shutdown continues to delay direct payments and other programs, as discussed previously.
The Farm Bill actually expired two years ago and, until October 1, a continuing resolution was in place. As of today, the House has named its conferees, in response to the Senate’s naming of conferees. There is some speculation that the Farm Bill could be part of a larger package to reopen the government. One of the few areas of agreement between the Senate-passed bill and House-passed bill is the reduction of crop insurance subsidies for high-income earners. Otherwise, for a complete run-down of the Farm Bill status, click here.
Well, the government shutdown continues, with the Farm Bill also stalled. What are the implications for agriculture?