How the Government Shutdown Affects Agriculture
Almost as soon President Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill into law, he clashed with Congress on a wall on the U.S./Mexico border, leading to a government shutdown. It’s a partial shutdown, meaning that some vital functions remain in place until the standoff between the President and Congress resolves.
USDA is sharing which of its functions remain in place and which ones are suspended until the impasse ends.
At this point, 62% of USDA employees are still on the job. But that can change.
“If the shutdown continues, this percentage would decrease, and activities would be reduced as available funding decreases,” a USDA press release says.
Here’s a partial list of what USDA has shut down during the shut down:
- Mandatory Audits (Financial Statements, FISMA, and potentially Improper Payments) are suspended and may not be completed and released on the date mandated by law.
- USDA Farm Service Agency county offices closed at the end of business on Friday, December 28, 2018.
- Providing new rural development loans and grants for housing, community facilities, utilities, and businesses.
- NASS statistics, World Agricultural Supply, and Demand Estimates report, and other agricultural economic and statistical reports and projections.
- Assistance for the control of some plant and animal pests and diseases unless funded by cooperators or other non-appropriated sources.
- Research facilities except for the care for animals, plants, and associated infrastructure to preserve agricultural research.
- Provision of new grants or processing of payments for existing grants to support research, education, and extension.
- ERS Commodity Outlook Reports, Data Products, research reports, staff analysis, and projections. The ERS public website would be taken offline.
- Most departmental management, administrative, and oversight functions, including civil rights, human resources, financial management, audit, investigative, legal and information technology activities.
And here is what the USDA will keep active for the short-term:
- Inspections for import and export activities to prevent pest introductions and spreading into and out of the U.S., including inspections from Hawaii and Puerto Rico to the mainland.
- Forest Service law enforcement, emergency and natural disaster response, and national defense preparedness efforts.
- Continuity and maintenance of some research measurements and research-related infrastructure, such as germplasm, seed storage, and greenhouses.
- Care for animals, plants, and associated infrastructure to preserve agricultural research and to comply with the Wild Horses and Burros statute.
- Eligible households will still receive monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for January.
- Most other domestic nutrition assistance programs, such as the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, WIC, and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, can continue to operate at the State and local level with any funding and commodity resources that remain available. Additional Federal funds will not be provided during the period of the lapse, however deliveries of already-purchased commodities will continue.
- The Child Nutrition (CN) Programs, including School Lunch, School Breakfast, Child and Adult Care Feeding, Summer Food Service and Special Milk will continue operations into February. Meal providers are paid on a reimbursement basis 30 days after the end of the service month.
- Minimal administrative and management support, including to excepted IT systems and contracts, will be maintained to support the above activities.
- Natural Resources Conservation Service offices will remain open to support conservation technical and financial assistance (such as Environmental Quality Incentives Program and easement programs).
- Market Facilitation Program payments for producers that have already certified production with the Farm Service Agency.
- Trade mitigation purchases made by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.
- Agricultural export credit and other agricultural trade development and monitoring activities.
- USDA’s Market News Service, which provides market information to the agricultural industry.
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