As the government shutdown continues, it has now officially reached an unfortunate milestone as being the longest shutdown ever recorded. As lawmakers continue to disagree about funding priorities many analysts are expecting the shutdown to continue for a while longer. The shutdown has left many areas of the government closed or significantly understaffed, which is having a negative impact on the agricultural industry.
A total of 25 percent of federal government funding is impacted by the shutdown, including several functions of US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Many EPA functions will remain suspended during the shutdown, including the Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP) as well as the publication of the new proposed Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule in the Federal Register.
While many USDA inspection services are continuing, Farm Service Agency county offices will remain closed until the government shutdown ends. USDA has also stopped producing several important informational reports, with farmers working in the dark since the last data report was released on December 22. Agricultural Export Sales, Cold Storage and Cattle on Feed reports have all been suspended until an agreement is made and all government functions resume.