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3 Big Things Today, December 26

Grain Markets Set to Reopen; Shutdown to Continue Until Wall is Funded, Trump Says.

1. Grain Markets Closed Overnight for Christmas

Grain markets were closed overnight in observance of Christmas. Normal trading will resume at 8:30 a.m. in Chicago after a preopen at 6 a.m. 

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2. Government Shutdown Will Continue Until Wall is Funded, Trump Says

The government shutdown will go on until a wall along the U.S. and Mexico border is funded, President Trump said yesterday.

For now, at least, there’s been no movement on negotiations to get the government fully running again, though the shutdown is only rolling into its fifth day with two of those days being on a weekend and one being Christmas.

Trump said during a video conference with U.S. troops that he doesn’t know when the government will reopen fully “until we have a wall, a fence, whatever they’d like to call it.” He went on to say “if you don’t have that, then we’re just not reopening.”

About 800,000 workers are impacted by the partial shutdown including many at the USDA.

While the government will still perform essential functions including meat, poultry and egg inspections, grain inspections, and import and export inspections, it will not issue some of its normal reports, perform some duties at its research facilities, or, after the first week, process farm loans or market facilitation payments for producers who have yet to be certified or work on disaster assistance.

USDA Secretary Sonny Perdue said in a tweet on Friday that farmers who’ve been certified will receive their payments under the $12 billion market facilitation program that was implemented to offset the effect of the ongoing trade war with China.

“Need to make something clear because of some reporting on MFP payments & commodity purchases in trade mitigation program,” Perdue tweeted. “Farmers who have certified production WILL receive payments even with a government shutdown. Commodity purchasing will go on. Don’t want confusion about this.”

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3. Large Storm Will Hammer Much of the U.S. Midwest, Slow Post-Christmas Travel

An extremely large storm that now extends from southeastern Colorado north to the Canadian border and east into Wisconsin is slamming much of the central U.S.

A winter storm warning has been issued for several states, according to the National Weather Service. A “powerful winter storm” is taking aim parts of western and central Nebraska and is expected to last through Friday morning, the NWS said in a report early this morning.

“A wintry mix is currently impacting portions of the area,” the agency said. “Temperatures will warm into the middle 30s today, causing a changeover to rain. As colder air is drawn into the system tonight, the rain will transition to snow.”

The snow will slow Thursday evening, but strong winds from the norther will continue to produce blowing and drifting snow into Friday, creating icy and snow-packed roads and reducing visibility.

In much of the Dakotas and Minnesota, heavy snow with accumulations of up to 8 inches are expected, the NWS said. Winds gusting as high as 40 mph are forecast.

Post-Christmas travel is expected to be extremely difficult, as blowing snow could reduce visibility to almost zero.

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