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Government Shutdown Ends, USDA to Reopen

After a 35-day partial government shutdown shuttered many parts of the federal government, including USDA FSA offices around the country, President Donald Trump has announced a deal to reopen the government, at least temporarily.

“I will sign a bill to open our government for three weeks until February 15,” Trump told reporters on Friday from the Rose Garden.

Following the announcement, Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue made the following statement in support of the news.

“President Trump’s announcement of the reopening of the federal government is welcome news, as it will bring thousands of our employees back to work and return us to our mission of providing our customers with the services they rely upon. I extend my sincere thanks to the thousands of USDA workers who stayed on the job during the shutdown to offer as many of our normal activities as we could. The president has already signed legislation that guarantees backpay for all employees, and we will move forward on that as soon as possible. Meanwhile, we will prepare for a smooth reestablishment of USDA functions.”

A more detailed timeline for the resuming of USDA functions has not been released yet.

All FSA offices will be open Monday as previously announced on January 22. 

According to a tweet from Perdue, the new Market Facilitation Program (MFP) sign-up deadline is February 14. The extended deadline was confirmed in this article.

Sara Menker is the founder and CEO of Gro Intelligence, a data and analytics compay for agriculture. She says the next World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimate (WASDE) report, scheduled for February 8, should be released on time based on previous patterns and a statement she recieved from USDA.

“They missed their report in the shutdown of 1995-96, which is obviously the longest shutdown prior to this one, and they were able to produce the report within six business days. So they had missed a report, and then when the government reopened the next report, it was six business days later and they were still able to pull it off. Given that February 8 is more than six business days away, theoretically speaking, it should still be possible,” Menker explains.

Looking Ahead

Perdue continued his statement by saying, “There will now be sufficient time for Congress to come to an agreement with the president on his pledge to protect our national security by securing our Southern border with a reliable, effective barrier.”

As Trump wrapped up his announcement he added, “If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on February 15, again, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution of the United States to address this emergency.”

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