No Reports for Farmers During Shutdown
by Brian Kirk, Meteorologist/Reporter
October 07, 2013 4:52 PM
Ag-based commodities rely heavily on weekly and monthly reports, especially at this time of year. With the federal government shut down, these reports are not being produced.
"The October report is very critical because even if the government does re-open and we have a November report,” said Dr. Lisa Elliott, an agriculture economics expert with SDSU. “We won’t have near the amount of samples that we have in October.”
The National Agriculture Statistics Service is critical, giving farmers idea of supply and demand, exports and pricing, and indicators for next year's crop. Without it, prices could spike, and markets could become shaky. Elliott has looked through history, "In a historical perspective, from looking at the government shutdowns and when they have occurred and how long, I think this one, the commodity markets will probably have the biggest impact."
The last shutdown was in 1995, but it occurred well into winter. Elliott explains why the timing is so important, "The timeliness of this shutdown being during when were having harvest and were trying to get some sense of the size of these crops, it’s a different type of impact.”
All this is coming at a time when farmers are still trying to deal with the expiration of the Farm Bill. As farmer's get together to figure out their prices without the federal reports, the government remains closed, unable to help.