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USDA catching up after gov’t reopens

USDA catching up after gov’t reopens

President Trump’s shutdown lasted 35 days

By Diego Flammini
Staff Writer
Farms.com

Several federal agencies are trying to make up for lost time after President Trump reopened the government Friday.

After a 35-day shutdown that began Dec. 22, President Trump signed a bill to temporarily restore federal funding until Feb. 15. If the Democrats don’t support his multibillion-dollar border wall, the U.S. government could face another shutdown.

The president could also declare a national emergency under the National Emergencies Act to fund his wall.

In the meantime, federal departments – including the USDA – will be working to meet Americans’ needs, said Marin Bozic, an ag policy professor at the University of Minnesota.

“The situation is fluid but I’m cautiously optimistic that they’ll be able to catch up for lost time,” he told Farms.com. “If the shutdown lasted a few more weeks, I might be singing a different tune.”

The reopening of the federal government should bring the creation and release some important ag reports.

The USDA didn’t’ publish the January WASDE report on Jan. 11 because of the shutdown.

February’s WASDE report is scheduled for a Feb. 8 release. The publication could end up being a combination of January and February stats, Bozic said.

“My understanding is that (the report) will come on its regular date but will include any data that was missed and would’ve otherwise been released in January,” he said.

Trump’s decision to resume full government operations could also affect the Farm Bill.

The federal ag legislation mandated that some program enrollments and reports are made publicly available within a certain timeframe, Bozic said.

“The Farm Bill stipulates that enrollment for dairy programs need to be released in either 60 or 90 days after the bill passed,” he said. “There could be delays in mandated studies. The National Agricultural Statistics Service, (for example), was supposed to start releasing two studies related to cost of production and how corn silage relates to corn for grain prices.

“Those might be delayed a little bit as the USDA resumes full operation.”

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