U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue outlined U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) services available during the government shutdown.
“USDA is committed to safeguarding life and property through the critical services we provide – and should the government shut down, we will continue to do just that," said Secretary Perdue. “I am proud of each USDA employee for everything they do to benefit the farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers who depend on our services. It is their mission each day to fulfill our USDA motto, 'Do right and feed everyone.'”
While you may click HERE to view USDA’s lapse in funding plans, background information on USDA services available in the event of a government shutdown are below:
Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS):
In the event of a lapse in appropriation – among other duties listed HERE – FSIS will continue work to:
- Ensure meat, poultry, and egg products are safe and prevent the movement or sale in commerce of any meat or poultry products which are adulterated;
- Inspect before and after slaughter those birds and animals intended for use as food for humans and inspect the further processing of meat and poultry products;
- Apply foreign governments’ inspection requirements and procedures to verify that products exported from the United States are safe;
- Conduct emergency operations in connection with the voluntary recall of meat or poultry products determined to be adulterated or misbranded;
- Conduct epidemiological investigations based on reports of food-borne health hazards and disease outbreaks;
- Monitor allied industries to prevent uninspected, misbranded, or adulterated meat, poultry and egg products from illegally entering channels of commerce;
- Provide pathological, microbiological, chemical, and other scientific examination of meat, poultry and egg products for disease, infection, contamination, or other types of adulteration;
- Conduct a microbiological monitoring and surveillance program;
Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS):
In the event of a lapse in appropriation – among other duties listed HERE – APHIS will ensure:
- Imported products do not bring pests and diseases into the U.S.;
- In the case of a pest or disease outbreak, the appropriate emergency personnel would come back to work immediately;
- Overseas staff that provide for national security, including the conduct of foreign relations essential to the national security or the safety of life and property, are excepted;
- Personnel from the APHIS Emergency Management, Safety and Security Division will respond as necessary to provide technical assistance and conduct investigations for excepted and exempt activities;
- Animal Care will have staff on call to address issues related to licensed or registered facilities (such as immediate needs related to the care or treatment of animals; capture or containment of dangerous animals, or the required confiscation of animals);
- Biotechnology Regulatory Services will monitor the compliance call line for incidents related to genetically engineered organisms. If an incident needs follow up, the correct regulatory and investigative personnel will be called in to work;
- Security staff will be available on a case-by-case basis to respond to security incidents and to coordinate facility access;
- Foreign animal disease (FAD) diagnosticians and incident command system (ICS) teams will be available on a case-by-case basis to respond to FAD investigations and FAD emergencies;
- Laboratory personnel will be available to run tests on samples associated with foreign animal disease investigations, and, at the beginning of the period, to close out pending lab tests;
- Staffing at National Wildlife Research Center and its associated field stations to care for the animals being studied.
Food and Nutrition Service (FNS):
In the event of a lapse in appropriations – among other duties listed HERE – FNS will ensure:
- Ongoing activities include essential Federal functions to maintain the core programs of the nutrition safety net, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Child Nutrition Programs, and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC);
- All of these programs will continue to serve eligible people through USDA’s partners (State agencies and other grantees) utilizing legally available Federal resources previously provided to them or their own resources. All have funding available to operate through the month of February, and many have funds to continue operations through March, without additional appropriation.
- Disaster feeding operations under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 and the Stafford Act would remain available based on the exception to fund functions critical to health and safety;
- The smaller discretionary programs should utilize funds already allocated and made available for operation of programs. Food already purchased for delivery to the Food Distribution programs; The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), the Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations (FDPIR), USDA foods for Child Nutrition Programs, and the Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), will continue to be delivered to program operators.
Risk Management Agency (RMA):
In the event of a lapse in appropriations – among other duties listed HERE – RMA will ensure:
- Crop insurance companies will continue to deliver and service the federal crop insurance program during a government shutdown;
- Approved Insurance Providers (AIPS) will stay open and agents and loss adjustors will be fully available;
- Indemnity payments will continue to be made.
Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS):
In the event of a lapse in appropriation – among other duties listed HERE – the following services will remain available through AMS:
- Commodity Procurement;
- Grading and Inspection;
- Cotton Classing;
- Perishable Agricultural Commodities Act Program (PACA);
- Research and Promotion Board Oversight;
- FGIS: Inspection and Weighing Services (user fee funded activities);
- Farm-Bill Funded Activities.
Economic Research Service (ERS):
In the event of a lapse in appropriations – among other duties listed HERE – ERS will:
- Ensure coordination of data calls;
- Maintain agency Local Area Network (LAN) and Wide Area Network (WAN) systems;
- Ensure all systems remain online and functional;
- Require COOP team staff for both readiness activities such as maintaining operable communications as well as implementation or activation activities, and to ensure adequate communication with the USDA OpsCenter.
Agricultural Research Service (ARS):
In the event of a lapse in appropriations – among other duties listed HERE – ARS will:
- Continue performing duties related to preserving and protecting ARS facilities, animals and critical research infrastructure.
Foreign Agricultural Service (FAS):
In the event of a lapse in appropriations – among other duties listed HERE – FAS will:
- Support NAFTA negotiations;
- Engage on issues pending in the World Trade Organization;
- Operate the Commodity Credit Corporation-funded Export Credit Guarantee Program (GSM-102);
- Maintain international offices at U.S. embassies around the world.
Office of the Chief Economist (OCE):
In the event of a lapse in appropriation – among other duties listed HERE – OCE will continue Supporting:
- The ongoing NAFTA negotiations;
- The China negotiations in Geneva;
- The OECD.