Ag News

Government shutdown and the USDA: What's open, what's not

The USDA has provided a summary of how the partial shutdown of the federal government affects its agencies and services.

Certain USDA activities will remain active because they are related to law enforcement, protection of life and property, or are financed through available funding (such as through mandatory appropriations, multi-year discretionary funding, or user fees).

USDA activities that will continue include:

Meat, poultry, and processed egg inspection services.

Grain and other commodity inspection, weighing, grading, and IT support services funded by user fees.

Inspections for import and export activities to prevent the introduction and dissemination of pests into and out of the U.S., including inspections from Hawaii and Puerto Rico to the mainland.

Forest Service law enforcement, emergency and natural disaster response, and national defense preparedness efforts.

Continuity and maintenance of some research measurements and research-related infrastructure, such as germplasm, seed storage, and greenhouses.

Care for animals, plants, and associated infrastructure to preserve agricultural research and to comply with the Wild Horses and Burros statute.

Eligible households will still receive monthly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits for January. The USDA announced Jan. 8 that it plans to work with states to issue February benefits early.

Most other domestic nutrition assistance programs, such as the Commodity Supplemental Food Program, WIC, and the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations, can continue to operate at the state and local level with any funding and commodity resources that remain available. Additional federal funds will not be provided during the period of the lapse, however, deliveries of already-purchased commodities will continue.

The Child Nutrition (CN) Programs, including School Lunch, School Breakfast, Child and Adult Care Feeding, Summer Food Service and Special Milk will continue operations into February. Meal providers are paid on a reimbursement basis 30 days after the end of the service month.

Natural Resources Conservation Service offices will remain open to support conservation technical and financial assistance (such as Environmental Quality Incentives Program and easement programs).

Market Facilitation Program payments will continue for producers who had already certified production with the Farm Service Agency prior to the shutdown. (New applications could not be taken after Dec. 28, and the USDA announced Jan. 8 that the original application deadline would be extended for a period of time equal to the number of days FSA offices are closed.

 Trade mitigation purchases made by USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service.

Agricultural export credit and other agricultural trade development and monitoring activities.

USDA’s Market News Service, which provides market information to the agricultural industry.

USDA activities which are not continuing include:

USDA Farm Service Agency county offices.

Provision of new rural development loans and grants for housing, community facilities, utilities and businesses.

New timber sales.

Most forest fuels reduction activities in and around communities.

National Agricultural Statistics Service data, World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates report, and other agricultural economic and statistical reports and projections.

Assistance for the control of some plant and animal pests and diseases unless funded by cooperators or other non-appropriated sources.

Research facilities except for the care for animals, plants and associated infrastructure to preserve agricultural research.

Provision of new grants or processing of payments for existing grants to support research, education, and extension.

Economic Research Service Commodity Outlook Reports, data products, research reports, staff analysis, and projections. The ERS public website is not being updated.

For more information, please view a summary of USDA’s shutdown plans at

In addition, you may view a list of shutdown plans by USDA agency and office at