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How the Government Shutdown Affects Agriculture


Many Americans are experiencing challenges related to the partial government shutdown, ranging from missed paychecks to long waits at airports. Farmers, ranchers and others in the agriculture industry have not been immune to these challenges. While the branches of government struggle to agree on funding terms, these groups must navigate these new roadblocks as 2019 begins.


As appropriations have lapsed for many offices, important commodity outlook reports generated by the United States government are unavailable for public use. Sal Gilbertie, president and chief investment officer at Teucrium Trading, was quoted in Barron’s saying “United States government-issued agricultural reports are considered the information gold standard by traders throughout the world.” The temporary loss of these reports impacts agricultural futures markets in many countries, especially as China returns to purchasing United States crops. Even if a funding bill is passed, it will take the USDA some time to catch up on this reporting.


Closer to home, farm services offices are closed in counties across the country, making it difficult for farmers to get answers to questions from local staff. And new rural development loans are halted as well. Farmers and ranchers also have concerns about how any border wall legislation might affect legal farm workers who travel across the border to work in the United States.


The most common emotion felt among farmers and producers with this government shutdown is uncertainty. As the shutdown continues, these challenges, and potentially new roadblocks, will likely continue across the United States.


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