The partial shutdown of the federal government will not, of course, stop farmers from running their combines or milking their cows. But there will be an effect, says Illinois Farm Bureau spokesman John Hawkins.
The lack of a weekly USDA crop report takes away large-scale information farmers consider valuable, and the uncertainty can unsettle businesspeople. “It could end up lowering the price of corn and soybeans that farmers get,” Hawkins says, “because the operator of that elevator doesn’t want to take a risk that he doesn’t know about.” Hawkins notes that during the second half of the harvest, many elevators shut down temporarily so they can get caught up.
“The livestock reports that normally are there, just aren’t around,” Hawkins adds, “especially for the hog people. They’re scratching their heads, trying to find some private information out there that’s available to settle the hog futures this month.”