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Some USDA services to continue during shutdown

Some USDA services will continue during the partial shutdown of the federal government. For the first week, 61% of staff will be excepted or exempted from shutdown activities, with that number falling as funding decreases.

Meat, poultry, and processed egg inspections will continue, along with the inspection of grains and other commodities, and import and export inspections. Most programs that are funded by user fees and assessments will continue to operate, including cattle futures, dairy grading, poultry grading, meat grading, and laboratory operations. The services funded by mandatory appropriations including farm bill-funded activities, commodity purchase services, and marketing agreements will also continue. So will the research and promotion programs that are funded by reimbursements. Some farm payments, including direct payments, and market facilitation payments, will continue for the first week, along with trade mitigation purchases.

Eligible households will receive SNAP benefits for January and Child Nutrition programs will continue into February, while other nutrition assistance programs will be administered on the state and local level.

The USDA’s market news division will continue as long as funding is available, but the National Agricultural Statistics Service, Economic Research Service, and fraud and anti-competitive investigations of the livestock industry will be suspended. The Risk Management Agency will not be open during the government shutdown, so crop insurance and Dairy Revenue Protection policies cannot be written until the shutdown is over. The National Organic Program and the Packers and Stockyards Program are also shut down.

Debate on the federal budget is expected to resume Thursday when the Senate returns to Washington D.C.

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