During the government shutdown that was initiated the evening of Dec. 21, some USDA programs and services will remain open while others will be unavailable.
Packers and Stockyards
All Packers and Stockyards (P&S) employees are furloughed and the Agricultural Marketing Service cannot service questions related to those activities, according to a news release from the Livestock Marketing Association. This may create problems for markets with time-sensitive P&S issues, such as needing registration approval to have an initial sale, answering a complaint by a deadline or filing a bond claim.
Producers who have deadlines to meet should fax, email and/or mail information to P&S in a timely fashion despite the shutdown. It is advisable to transmit information in a way that will allow the date sent and received to be verified, such as certified mail.
However, do not expect a response until post shutdown.
For bond claims, filing with a surety company or trustee may also be options.
Agricultural Marketing Service
AMS will continue performing market reports, allowing producers and markets to stay informed on market prices.
However, some data won’t be available because USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service will not be releasing information. The weekly actual slaughter activity report will not be published because it is released by AMS but is collected by NASS.
Farm Service Agency
The USDA’s local FSA offices are closed. If markets have received timely notice FSA has a lien on a certain producers’ cattle, they are legally required to write a joint check, so that any check written to that producer also includes FSA as a recipient of the check. Markets must continue to do this regardless of the shutdown.
Producers will have to wait for the government to reopen before they can get these checks endorsed by FSA. Timely notice means FSA has provided notice of the lien within one year for direct notice states and within five years for central notice states.
Additional implications of FSA offices being closed include producers not being able to apply for new loans, sign up acreages for government programs, or receive government checks for programs they’re already enrolled in.
Depending on how funding is allocated, certain Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service state field offices will remain open during the shutdown. If markets attempt to order backtags through their state field office and it is closed during the shutdown, contact LMA GIA Associate Pierce Bennett firstname.lastname@example.org 937-541-1287 for assistance in requesting back tags from APHIS.
The ELD exemption remains in place. While the current livestock hauler ELD exemption is tied to the funding process, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has posted the following on their website to clarify that livestock haulers are ELD exempt until further notice: “Transporters of livestock and insects are not required to have an ELD. The statutory exemption will remain in place until further notice. Drivers do not need to carry any documentation regarding this exemption.”