IFB official discusses uncertainty during shutdown

Several implications from a closed USDA.

According to Illinois Farm Bureau's Mark Gebhards, executive director for governmental affairs and commodities, "it's anybody's guess" how long the partial federal government shutdown will last. (Illinois Farm Bureau file photo)

By DeLoss Jahnke

The partial federal government shutdown has entered its third week, and Mark Gebhards, Illinois Farm Bureau’s executive director of governmental affairs and commodities, said “it’s anybody’s guess” as to how long the stalemate will last.

The relief of a newly-passed farm bill has been replaced by the uncertainty surrounding its implementation, which is just one shutdown implication.

“We were so elated that we were able to get that bill finished, the president signed it before the end of the calendar year,” Gebhards said. “There is flexibility built into this bill for guys to make decisions around ARC and PLC, those are things that obviously have to happen in the near term.”

Another item of contention comes from the Market Facilitation Program. The signing deadline of Jan. 15 is fast approaching, and those who enrolled just before the shutdown wonder when a deposit will be made.

“I can tell the listeners there’s been talk of an extension, but as of right now that has not been confirmed,” Gebhards told RFD Today. “I know that Secretary Perdue is coming to the AFBF annual meeting and will address the general session next week, so we may hear some things there.”

Meanwhile, Gebhards remains hopeful that trade disputes between the U.S. and China will improve, as the nation’s leaders meet in person this week.

“It’s important to note that this is the first face-to-face negotiation in quite some time, so that in and of itself is a very positive step,” Gebhards said. “That March deadline…that’s not very far away; we hope that we have some clear direction on China, trade, and the tariff war.”

Content for this story was provided by FarmWeekNow.com.