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Government shutdown completes second week

Progressive Cattleman Editor Carrie Veselka Published on 03 January 2019

President Donald Trump’s heated debate with Congress over the inclusion of $5.7 billion in funding to build his border wall with Mexico led to a government shutdown that began at midnight on Dec. 21 and has since stretched past two weeks with no end in sight.

The meeting between Trump and Congressional leaders on Jan. 2 to discuss the shutdown and its surrounding issues yielded no results. With nine government departments, including the USDA, affected and around 800,000 government employees currently on unpaid leave or working without pay, tensions are starting to mount.

Currently, according to a USDA announcement, 62 percent of USDA employees have been exempted from the shutdown, but as the shutdown continues, that number will go down.

Some of the more vital USDA activities will continue throughout the shutdown including the following:

  • Meat, poultry and processed egg inspection services.
  • Grain and other commodity inspection, weighing, grading and IT support services funded by user fees.
  • Forest Service law enforcement, emergency and natural disaster response, and national defense preparedness efforts.
  • Eligible households will still receive monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for January.
  • School breakfast and lunch, and other Child Nutrition programs will continue into February.
  • USDA’s Market News Service, which provides market information to the agricultural industry.

USDA activities that are discontinued until the government resumes normal function:

  • USDA Farm Service Agency offices
  • Government-run recreation sites and national parks
  • National Agricultural Statistics Service (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 unappropriated 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
  • Economic Research Service (ERS) Commodity Outlook Reports, data products, research reports, staff analysis and projections. The ERS public website would be taken offline.
  • Some Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs may remain functional, others will not. This may vary by state.

View a summary of the USDA’s shutdown plans.  end mark

Carrie Veselka
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