What the federal shutdown means for farmers

usdadownSo…no federal government today. The first tangible sign I found this morning is that the US Department of Agriculture website is completely closed down.

Seems like a minor thing, compared to the 800,000 people who are estimated to be furloughed starting today. But the shutdown of the USDA's data services can be a big deal, as Modern Farmer points out:

Markets rely on reports from the USDA to set the price of soy, wheat, corn, beef, etc. Without an October report traders would be adjusting prices in the dark and farmers would be selling without knowing the real value of their crops.

That Modern Farmer article also has other good information about what is and isn't happening due to the federal shutdown (food stamps still available, food inspectors still working, WIC program for children and infants not working).

Agweek has more details on what is and is not available to farmers now.

Today is also the day the Farm Bill extension (remember that?) expires. Yesterday, the House voted to recouple the agriculture and food stamp provisions that it had separated over the summer.

But with the current budget battle, and the coming debt ceiling battle, it seems hard to believe progress on a new Farm Bill will come anytime soon.


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