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?
As we enter day four of the government shutdown and some potentially nasty weather this weekend, here are some tidbits to distract you:
Meet the new Executive Director of the Center for Rural Affairs, Brian Depew.
Crop insurance claims should not affect farmers, as the insurance contracts are with private companies and not the federal government.
Are you a agriculture student? Check out the 2014 Agricultural Innovation Prize competition.
Monsanto has purchased The Climate Corporation. The Climate Corporation is an ag-focused information technology company that measures historical rainfall, weather, and other information to assist in increasing production.
Here are three interesting vignettes about British beginning farmers.
This recipe combines some of my favorite things: apples, pie, and cookies to make the Apple Pie Cookie. I haven’t tried them but they look delicious.
As discussed in Tuesday’s post, the Farm Bill also expired Tuesday. What does that mean for farmers and ranchers?
We know that most USDA offices are closed during the shutdown. This means you cannot seek assistance from, for example, the Farm Service Agency or National Resources Conservation Service because the offices are closed. In pragmatic terms, this means items such as loan applications are not being processed by the Farm Service Agency. Direct payments may also be impacted. A list of programs that expired on October 1st and the implications is here.
Also, conferees have been appointed from the Senate to discuss the Farm Bill. The House has not yet appointed conferees. Conferees would allow the House and Senate to hold a conference committee in an attempt to resolve differences between the Farm Bills passed in the House and Senate respectively. When more information is available, we will update you.
As you likely know, the federal government shut down as of midnight eastern time. If you haven’t been to the USDA’s website yet, take a gander and I’ll be right here waiting for your return.
What services are available from the USDA? This chart, if you search for the USDA, outlines what is and is not open. Of interest to this audience, meat and poultry inspections continue, as does grain inspections, and the loans backed by the Rural Development Division will be monitored. The Farm Service Agency is shutdown and in operation only for emergency and natural disaster response. The National Resources Conservation Service is shutdown with the exception of protection of life and property. The Risk Management Agency is shutdown and no employees will be at their offices. Market analysis, forecasts, and analysis will not be provided because the Agricultural Statistical Service and Economic Research Service will be closed.
Please keep in mind that the above concerns the government shutdown and as more information becomes available, this post will be updated. This post does not address the Farm Bill Continuing Resolution which also expires today. More than the Farm Bill situation Thursday.
Update: The National Farmers’ Union has a nice rundown of the implications of the shutdown. Of note:
Farm program payments for crops planted in 2013 would continue after the farm bill expires September 30. However, payments would not be able to be delivered under a government shutdown.
Update 2: The Wall Street Journal also discusses the implications for farm program payments and market projections, statistics, and analysis.