Market News & Headlines >> Many USDA Services Hit by Shutdown

The partial government shutdown that began on Dec. 22 has significantly curtailed USDA operations and some important reports could be delayed or even cancelled if the shutdown continues into 2019. 

A notice on USDA’s main website states: “This website will not be updated during a lapse in federal funding. Content on this website will not be current or maintained until funding issues have been resolved.” Similar notices appear on most USDA agency websites. 

The USDA’s Farm Service Agency offices closed at the end of business on Friday, Dec. 28. If the shutdown continues much longer, it could force USDA to extend the deadline for Market Facilitation Program (MFP), which provides aid for farmers in response to “trade damage from unjustified retaliation by foreign nations”. The current deadline for farmers to sign up for MFB is Jan. 15. 

USDA’s Foreign Agricultural Service has suspended its daily export sales reporting system and the weekly export sales report that was scheduled to be released on Friday by FAS, has been postponed indefinitely.   

If the shutdown continues into 2019, the Annual Crop Production Summary, quarterly Grain Stocks and Winter Wheat Seedings reports due to be released by the National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) on Jan. 11 could be delayed along with the monthly supply/demand update issued by USDA’s World Agricultural Outlook Board. 

NASS reports that have been postponed so far include monthly Poultry Slaughter, Agricultural Prices and Broiler Hatchery, well as final revisions of historical field crop production and grain stocks estimates. 

If the shutdown continues long enough, some reports may be cancelled altogether, similar to what occurred during the government shutdown in the fall of 2013. 

According to a press release issued by USDA on Dec. 28, some of the USDA activities that will continue beyond January 1, 2019 include: 

•Meat, poultry, and processed egg inspection services.

•Grain and other commodity inspection, weighing, grading, and IT support services funded by user fees.

•Inspections for import and export activities to prevent the introduction and dissemination of pests into and out of the U.S., including inspections from Hawaii and Puerto Rico to the mainland. 

For a full list of USDA activities that will continue past Jan. 1, and those that will not, visit . 

There are no indications that a deal to end the shutdown is near.