A Guide to Navigating the Government Shutdown

During the government shutdown that was initiated the evening of December 21, some USDA programs and services will remain open while others will be unavailable. Below is a brief summary. Please contact LMA staff if your business requires guidance or assistance during this shutdown.

Packers and Stockyards

All Packers and Stockyards (P&S) employees are all furloughed and AMS cannot service questions related to those activities. This may create problems for markets with time-sensitive P&S issues, such as needing registration approval to have an initial sale, answering a complaint by a deadline, or filing a bond claim.

Members who have deadlines to meet should fax, email, and/or mail information to P&S in a timely fashion despite the shutdown. It is advisable to transmit information in a way that will allow the date sent and received to be verified, such as certified mail. However, do not expect a response until post shutdown. For bond claims, filing with a surety company or trustee may also be options. If you have a specific situation that warrants immediate attention, contact LMA staff for assistance.

Markets Responsible for Renewing Trust Agreements and Letters of Credit 

If a market or dealer has a trust fund agreement or letter of credit in lieu of a bond, P&S has historically sent letters when they are set to expire. However, these letters will not be generated during the current government shutdown. Therefore, markets must pay attention to expirations of these financial instruments and get them renewed prior to expiration regardless of not receiving notice from P&S to do so. If a market or dealer has a trust fund agreement or letter of credit set to expire in the next few months or is not sure when their agreement expires, they should contact either the trustee with the trust fund agreement or their bank regarding the letter of credit in lieu of a bond about renewal to help ensure there is no lapse in coverage.

Agriculture Marketing Service

AMS will continue performing market reports, allowing producers and markets to stay informed on market prices.

However, some data won’t be available because USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) will not be releasing information. The weekly actual slaughter activity report will not be published because it is released by AMS but is collected by NASS.

USDA’s local Farm Services Agency (FSA) offices are closed.

If markets have received timely notice FSA has a lien on a certain producer’s cattle they are legally required to write a joint check, so that any check written to that producer also includes FSA as a recipient of the check. Markets must continue to do this regardless of the shutdown. Producers will have to wait for the government to reopen before they can get these checks endorsed by FSA. Timely notice means FSA has provided notice of the lien within one year for direct notice states and within five years for central notice states.

Additional implications of FSA offices being closed include producers not being able to apply for new loans, sign up acreages for government programs, or receive government checks for programs they’re already enrolled in.

Back Tags

Depending on how funding is allocated, certain Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) state field offices will remain open during the shutdown. If markets attempt to order backtags through their state field office and it is closed during the shutdown, contact LMA GIA Associate Pierce Bennett pbennett@lmaweb.com 937-541-1287 for assistance in requesting back tags from APHIS.

If markets need to purchase glue for backtags, below are companies that carry the product.

Companies to purchase glue from:

The Ruscoe Company



Loftin Team Penning Supplies

Cisco TX

Pete Loftin



American Animal Health



ELD Exemption Remains in Place

While the current livestock hauler ELD exemption is tied to the funding process, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has posted the following on their website to clarify that livestock haulers are ELD exempt until further notice: “Transporters of livestock and insects are not required to have an ELD. The statutory exemption will remain in place until further notice. Drivers do not need to carry any documentation regarding this exemption.”

A summary of USDA’s shutdown plans can be found here.

For questions or concerns, reach out to LMA Government and Industry Affairs Associate, Pierce Bennett, pbennett@lmaweb.com 937-541-1287.