Trump Tariff Payments and E15 Take a Hit From Shutdown


By Chuck Abbott, Successful Farming - 1/8/2019


The partial government shutdown is putting a kink in the Trump tariff payments to farmers, and it could prevent the EPA from approving the sale of E15 by the summer, as promised by President Trump. But farm groups have made few public complaints about the shutdown, now in its third week.


“The shutdown has not bitten our members very hard, so far,” said spokesman Will Rodger of the American Farm Bureau Federation, the largest U.S. farm group, on Monday before listing areas of concern. Producers face a January 15 deadline to enroll in the Market Facilitation Program, as the $9.6 billion in tariff payments are formally named, but USDA local offices are closed, which also means farmers cannot apply for various USDA loans.


Because of the shutdown, the USDA also postponed indefinitely the release of major reports on U.S. and world crops originally scheduled to appear on Friday. The reports include USDA’s first estimate of winter wheat sowings, data on crop output and usage at home and around the world, and a quarterly survey of U.S. grain stockpiles.


“We also miss economic reports, such as the WASDE,” said Rodger. “We have been actively polling our state members to keep track of local conditions … We are hoping for the best in the meantime.”


“The delay of economic reports will make it difficult for farmers to make informed decisions about which crops to plant in the upcoming season,” said the National Farmers Union, the second-largest farm group. Also on social media, the NFU said, “Another unexpected consequence of the shutdown is the delayed implementation of year-round E15, which would help farmers struggling with depressed prices and oversupply.”


Trump started the regulatory process for year-round sales of E15...


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