Until Congress passes a bill to fund government functions for fiscal year 2014, which began October 1, the U.S. Department of Agriculture will be operating on a pretty lean basis. Some USDA functions will remain, including food inspections, but many other functions will be suspended.
For the dairy industry, this means there will be no dairy data published by the National Agricultural Statistics Service during this period. No crop reports or monthly reports will be published, including Dairy Products, Cold Storage, Milk Production and Agricultural Prices. The USDA Office of the Chief Economist is closed, so no dairy or other data from the World Agricultural Outlook Board, like the monthly World Agricultural Supply and Demand Estimates, and no weekly weather and crop report, will be issued.
From the Agricultural Marketing Service, there will be no market news reports, like the weekly Dairy Market News. The Washington, D.C. - based AMS employees who work on Federal Milk Marketing Orders will likely not be at work unless they are required to support other USDA activities that either are deemed to be essential or else are funded by user fees.
The activities of all the Federal Order Market Administrators are funded by user fees, so those workers not in Washington, D.C., will continue to function as normal. One key change to expect with federal order regulation is that the National Dairy Product Sales Report, which is published every Wednesday at 3:00 p.m. Eastern time, will not be published, and the survey that report is based on will not be conducted.
Instead of using survey data in the formulas used to determine the federal order minimum class milk prices, USDA will estimate the data; this is permitted under government regulations stating that if the data needed to calculate federal order minimum class milk prices is not available, USDA shall use data determined by the deputy administrator, Dairy Programs, Agricultural Marketing Service, to be equivalent to the data needed (see 7 CFR 1000.54).
Members with questions may contact Bob Yonkers, IDFA vice president and chief economist, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 220-3511.