Agricultural associations respond to government shutdown

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As government shutdown enters day two, agricultural association leaders brace for the effects of missing timely reports and look to get Congress back on track and address key industry issues.

Lock The government shutdown spares only essential employees at USDA. During the shutdown, agricultural economic and statistical reports and projections will be discontinued.

Colin Woodall, National Cattlemen's Beef Association vice president of government affairs, says the NCBA is not yet aware of the impact those missing reports will have on the marketplace, but is reassured that FSIS inspectors will remain in the packing plants, allowing those businesses to stay active.

In a weekly NCBA interview, Woodall said he was surprised by the government shutdown, citing all that’s politically at stake for both Republicans and Democrats. Despite the immediate impacts, Woodall remained focused on the long-term issues and the letdown as Congress failed to pass a new farm bill.

With the U.S. now under 1949 permanent farm legislation, the next step is three months away when subsidy prices begin to increase, starting with dairy payments. Woodall expects a new farm bill will take every minute leading up to the January 1 date to complete a new package, and remains optimistic a resolution can be completed.

Although the duration of the shutdown is unclear, the next political showdown is only a few weeks away with the debt limit due Oct. 17.

The shutdown will most likely delay other programs affecting the ag industry until next year according to Woodall. He doesn’t expect the discussion on immigration to pick up again in 2013.

American Farm Bureau Federation President Bob Stallman said farmers and ranchers are joining others in frustration of the shutdown. In addition to the setback on the farm bill and immigration, Stallman pointed to tax reform and waterways funding as other key issues needing attention.

Stallman voiced his members’ concern regarding the shutdown, emphasizing the savings a settled farm bill would have on the deficit.

“Now that the 2008 farm bill extension has expired, farmers once again are left with uncertainty as to the safety net and risk management tools that are important in planning for next year’s crop. And come January, consumers once again face the impact of high food costs as decades-old farm policy kicks in,” Stallman said.

The association president remains focused on a bipartisan solution, encouraging Congress and President Obama to get the budget process in order and return to work addressing legislation important to agriculture.

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Frank B    
West Central Texas  |  October, 02, 2013 at 09:33 AM

It is a great thing that the government is shutdown. First, the GOP will be create a budget agency by agency. This will expose all the worthless agencies in the US Government. For all the worthless agencies and contractors that milk the system, they will have to wait to get back onto the gravy train. What is wrong with that? Do you really want Obamacare? Corporations may be given a waiver, but I haven't. I suggest you stop complaining and address the real issue; excessive spending in Washington DC. By the day our dollar is being devalued because of Obama. Before the dollar becomes worthless, less first all get on the same page and fight for this country, its financial system, return jobs to the USA, get rid of excessive regulations and agencies, etc. As and organization you have the contacts and power to help. Help and stop complaining!

Joan S    
New York  |  October, 02, 2013 at 10:16 AM

About half the federal budget is for defense. I doubt if Congress would start budget revisions with a DOD budget reduction, but for an ordinary business, going after the single biggest expense would be logical.

Joan S    
New York  |  October, 02, 2013 at 10:08 AM

Did you really mean, "embrace for the effects of missing timely reports," which sounds like hugging one another. I suspect you intended the more usual term, "brace," which doesn't imply hugs. If I had to guess, some writing software program imposed the alternate word, which would slip past a spell-check.

October, 02, 2013 at 11:23 AM

No, Brett is absolutely right. Without the steady drip, drip drip of all those interim government reports, and leaked pending reports, and final reports subject to revision, and revised reports and scrubbed clean diluted final revised reports how on earth are commodities traders supposed to know which mob they should become hysterical with this morning or this afternoon? If markets and entrepreneurs are left to rely only upon reliable firsthand information won't the boredom and uninterrupted plodding progress become unbearable? Please, I need my hourly fix of speculative drama that can only be properly fueled by government reports.

Corrine Wynne    
October, 02, 2013 at 12:44 PM

This would Never of happened, but cattlemen supported horse slaughter. See all the bad luck that comes from messing with the government on multiple issues that need left alone? See if we jusy did business as usual and left out garbage like horse slaughter plants wanting to open you could have allowed Congress to defund it and get on yo work on these serious issues, but you soaked up their time and focus by asking for something we dpnt want or neec in America. From now on Agriculture needs to butt out of horseslaughter and focus on their living. Lets defund slaughter and wrote it off to lesson learned. You cant possibly keep distracting Congress from the serious issues that affect us directly.

OR  |  October, 02, 2013 at 01:15 PM

Totally off topic, irrelevant comment. Are you being serious?

sam Johnson    
Ohio  |  October, 02, 2013 at 01:22 PM

For the second day in a row now the sun has come up in the morning, the cattle still grazed in the fields, the corn and beans continued to dry down. In short the world kept turning. I think we would all do well with an extended vacation from the federal government. After all it is weaning season. Time for the juveniles to quit sucking the cow dry.

SIL  |  October, 02, 2013 at 03:32 PM

Horse slaughter caused this? Guess we should kill a few more, might get everything straighten out.

iowa  |  October, 03, 2013 at 08:36 AM

What really scares government, if enough people find out that they don't need the government. They would permantly keep the government shut down.

Maggie Nutter    
Montana  |  October, 03, 2013 at 06:51 PM

"The federal Bureau of Land Management, or BLM, now reports 33,000 free-roaming horses in the western U.S., but even more – roughly 45,000 – are in short- or long-term holding facilities." Each of those horses will be fed everyday even while the Federal Government is shut down, BUT WIC (women with infants and children) will not be operating. I just find the priorities there kind of funny. The horses could be gound up and feed many people but instead we feed them and people go hungry.

Maggie Nutter    
Montana  |  October, 03, 2013 at 06:53 PM

Cheers to you Sam!!!

Craig A. Moore    
Billings, MT  |  October, 04, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Corrine Go do your trolling in your own pond. Real agriculture doesn't need horse huggers like you saying what really needs to be done. Old horses have to go somewhere and huggers like you do not p[ay the bills to care for them, you want the taxpayers to do that. We have more wild horses and burros in corrals than we have running wild and they cost over $75 million a year to care for. And if you think the shutdown has ANYTHING to do with horse slaughter you are more of an idiot than many in congress.

in a drought  |  October, 04, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Corrine, it's better to keep your mouth shut and let others wonder if you're an idiot than to open your mouth and remove all doubt

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