Here's a quick assessment of how the federal government shutdown is affecting agricultural services coming through Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture. This information is provided by the Ag Department.
* Crop Insurance: The shutdown impacts the support outreach in the Oct. 8 Crop Insurance Conference and training sessions. Program people with the federal government won't be able to travel. The shutdown may also impact the fall advertising campaign.
* Animal, Plant and Health Inspection Service: Not impacted.
* Food Distribution: No impact unless the shutdown continues into the next calendar year except for The Commodity Supplemental food program. The Ag Department is checking on the status of that program, which provides boxes of food to seniors once a month. As of Oct. 1 there were no funds. But enough food inventory may carry the department through for one to two months.
* Emergency Food Assistance Program: TFAP supplements are all in the channel right now. Administrative funds are available to run the program throughout the end of the calendar year. TFAP provides USDA commodities to counties and food banks for distribution to low-income residents. Food distribution is handled by the private sector.
* State Administrative Expense: These funds are used to support bureau staff, bureau operations and its computer contractor. No impact is expected as the bureau has carry-over funds at least until year-end.
* Farmers Market Nutrition Program: No impact is expected on FMNP as the program is winding down for the year.
* Food Safety: All programs completed in cooperation with FDA and USDA are suspended. That includes COOL, Interstate Milk Inspections, FDA contracted inspections and egg inspections. Payments for work already completed are also on hold. FDA grants for special projects aren't impacted.
* Weights and Measures: No impact.
* Plant Industry: The Ag Department receives federal funds from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the pesticide program. Nothing is pending; no money is due right now.
* Specialty Crop Block Grants: There's a potential for delayed processing for grant funds for this program.
* Organic Cost Share Program: Here, too, there's potential for delayed processing for grant funds.
* Agricultural Trade: Reduced program opportunities for domestic and international trade are expected.