October 2, 2013

Shutdown on Ag,  Part 2

We all know the U.S. federal government has shut down. California Ag Today covers the continued unfolding of the situation and its effect on California agriculture.

First, the shutdown may mean costly delays for Delta Tunnel Plan, according to the California Water Alliance.


Western Growers Association (WGA) reports that the USDA Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS) will continue to run the Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act (PACA) Program and provide for Specialty Crop Inspections uninterruptedly.

USDA will discontinue other services such as: Country of Origin Labeling, Market News, Marketing Orders and Agreements, Pesticide Data Program, Pesticide Recordkeeping, and Specialty Crop Block Grant Administration.

The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will continue to provide services for:

  • Inspecting fruits, vegetables, and nursery products to be imported
  • Providing agricultural quarantine services for imports, including agricultural emergencies involving invasive pests and diseases
  • Responding to several agricultural emergencies involving invasive pests and diseases. Mandatory CCC funding sufficiently covers the salaries and benefits for employees working on these activities into FY 2014
  • Issuing phytosanitary certificates for domestic plant materials for export
  • Continuous rearing of sterile or biological-control insects in order to retard the spread or eliminate harmful insect infestations in the U.S. or prevent them from reaching our borders. Among these research facilities is in Los Alamitos, California.
  • Conducting Farm Bill (Section 10201) activities related to plant pest and disease management, and disaster prevention
  • Protecting (maintenance and security) of federal lands, buildings, waterways, equipment and other property, including Center for Plant Health Science and Technology and National Centers for Animal Health, among others.

The Natural Resources and Conservation Service (NRCS) will monitor, with minimal excepted staffing, essential programs such as Emergency Watershed Protection Program,  Dam safety and rehab and critical plant stock viability.
Research, Education, and Economics (REE) – which includes the Agricultural Research Service (ARS), Economic Research Service (ERS), National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS), and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) – will discontinue most of its activities, including market news reports, NASS statistics, and other agricultural economic and statistical reports and projections, according to Western Growers. Additionally, research facilities will be closed except for the care of animals, plants and associated infrastructure to preserve agricultural research.
The Risk Management Agency (RMA), which oversees the crop insurance program, will discontinue all activities. (Western Growers)

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) furloughed 52% of employees; however, HHS’s Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will continue select vital activities such as handling emergencies, high-risk recalls, civil and criminal investigations, and import inspections.
HHS/FDA will discontinue most of its food safety and nutrition activities,  routine establishment inspections, some compliance and enforcement activities, import monitoring, notification programs and much of the laboratory research.
Due to staff furloughs at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), which works jointly with the FDA during an outbreak, federal response to food recalls and outbreaks could be delayed.

The Department of the Interior, Environmental Protection Agency, and U.S. Internal and International Trade Administrations will also furlough all but essential personnel.

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