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January 06, 2019 | Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

Government Shutdown Looms Over Ag Industry

Data necessary for forecasting trends could undermine commodities markets

The federal government shutdown could wreak havoc on U.S. agriculture, and the rural economy, as farmers wait on subsidy payments, loans and data they need now to make plans for the spring, reports the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

The timing could hardly be worse, according to some farmers, as they've already been hit with fallen commodity prices and the loss of foreign markets in President Donald Trump's trade wars. Applications are on hold for a $12 billion emergency aid package for farmers hurt by retaliatory tariffs from China and other nations.

Also because of the shutdown, a lot of farm data, necessary in forecasting global agricultural trends, isn't getting processed, and that could undermine commodities markets. 

“We have not seen export sales figures since the shutdown began. And it's at a time when China supposedly has been making some new soybean purchases from the U.S.,” Todd Hultman, a markets analyst with DTN/The Progressive Farmer in Omaha, NE, told the Journal Sentinel.

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