Ongoing federal government shutdown impacts USDA operations

Program payments delayed; MFP signup extended; key USDA reports on hold

Land O

A partial shutdown of the federal government, including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, began on Dec. 22 when Congress and the White House were unable to reach a budget agreement, leading to a lapse in appropriations to fund government operations.

Negotiations between the House, Senate and White House to resolve the dispute are ongoing, with new developments on a daily – and sometimes hourly – basis, and no clear timetable for resolution. Politico is providing ongoing coverage via a live blog available here.

During the shutdown, many USDA operations are suspended, leading to payment, reporting and servicing delays that could impact members.

Following are key USDA services impacted by the shutdown:

FSA offices closed as of December 28, 2018

Local Farm Service Agency offices remained open through Friday, Dec. 28. However, FSA offices shut down at the end of the day Dec. 28 and will remain closed until a resolution is reached and funding resumes.

Market Facilitation Program – Payments delayed for some, and signup deadline extended

For producers impacted by trade retaliation who already signed up for MFP and certified their production history with their Farm Service Agency office before their FSA office shut down on Dec. 28, payments are underway, according to USDA. USDA Under Secretary Bill Northey told AgriTalk radio that producers who signed up and certified production history by midday on Friday, December 28 will likely receive their payment without delay.

On January 8, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue announced an extension of the signup deadline under the Market Facilitation Program. Originally, the deadline was January 15, 2019 – however, applications are not being taken until the government reopens. As a result, the MFP application deadline will be extended for a period of time equal to the number of business days FSA offices were closed, once the government shutdown ends.  Producers who have not yet signed up and certified their production should monitor the news and be prepared to sign up at their local FSA office, once offices are reopened.

Key USDA reports delayed

Due to the shutdown, several economic reports originally slated for January 11, 2019 will be delayed beyond their regularly scheduled release date. Notably, these include the monthly Crop Production Report and World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates (WASDE) report, both of which are closely monitored by markets. USDA is also delaying a variety of reports on commodity stocks. The department has indicated that even if the government reopens before Jan. 11, reporting will now be delayed.

FSA Farm Loan Program activity ceases as of January 3, 2019

FSA has announced that commodity loan activity by the agency has ceased as of January 3, 2019. Additional information on FSA farm loan programs, including guidance on farm-stored commodities pledged as CCC collateral, loan payments and other issues, is posted here.

Farm Bill implementation a key concern for Land O’Lakes

Because many federal workers are prohibited by law from working during a shutdown, Land O’Lakes is concerned about potential delays to the important work of implementing key Farm Bill programs – especially improvements to the dairy safety net that are critically needed and a major priority for our cooperative. The potential impacts of a shutdown on Farm Bill implementation will depend on how quickly government is reopened.

Questions about the shutdown?

The Land O’Lakes government relations team is working together with our trade associations to monitor the ongoing shutdown, and we will continue to provide regular updates to members until the shutdown has been resolved. Members can contact at any time with questions.