The government shutdown has come to an end after a long 16 days, providing some degree of relief to the agricultural community which has been hindered by uncertainty and a lack of crop information.
The shutdown mess in Washington caused vital agencies like the FSA, NRCS, and USDA to shutter their doors or operate in a limited capacity, creating headaches for farmers across the country.
As grain producers across the country are wrapping up harvest and beginning fall planting, the shutdown blocked access to vital agriculture reports from the National Agriculture Statistics Service, and even access to past reports.
Further, farmers should not expect to see the World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates or most other crop production reports in October as result of the shutdown. Look for this information around Nov. 8.
Now that the government has reopened and local FSA and NRCS offices are up and running again, farmers should expect to receive their direct payments under the 2013 government farm program soon.
Even though funding was authorized prior to the shutdown, payments were only able to be administered when the government reopened.
Additionally, the Commodity Credit Corporation, which is utilized by grain producers, is back open and is now able to process loan applications and payments.
Though the shutdown is over, American's farmers are being affected by the lack of program continuity. The uncertainty caused by the shutdown will have some effect on business planning for grain and crop production.
Farmers will also continue to feel the effects of sequestration. Commodity loans administered by the FSA, which provide interim financing for agricultural commodities to be stored after harvest and sold throughout the year, will be reduced by 5.1 percent.
Most importantly, Congress has not passed a comprehensive federal farm bill. This is necessary to provide certainty for farmers so they can plan for the future, something that has become increasingly difficult.