(Posted Tue. Oct 1st, 2013)

Sept. 30: Only hours remain before the start of the new fiscal year on October 1, leaving Congress little time to pass a Continuing Resolution to continue funding federal government activities in order to avoid a government shutdown. The legislation provides funding for export promotion programs, utilized by organizations like the U.S. Grains Council, which are subject to enactment of a new farm bill or an extension of current law.


"If the House and Senate cannot reach an agreement by midnight September 30, the federal government would shutdown leaving only essential services in place," said Floyd Gaibler, USGC director of trade policy and biotechnology. "Depending on the length of the shutdown, it could have impacts on USDA's Foreign Agricultural Services program funding, which the Council relies on to develop global markets for U.S. agricultural products."


The immediate impact of a shutdown would be a delay in obtaining approval for Council 2013/2014 Foreign Market Development funding for international offices and staff. This program year ends September 30 and in the absence of authorization the Council will not have access to funds to pay for the Council's nine international offices and international staff.


The next impact would be on Council programs. The Council would be able to implement already approved programs; however, it would receive no reimbursement for these activities if a shutdown occurred.

Finally, a government shutdown in the absence of a farm bill would further delay authorization from FAS for new funds for export programs in fiscal year 2014.


With nearly 95 percent of the world's population living outside the United States, world markets offer momentous growth opportunities for U.S. agriculture. Agriculture is a U.S. trade champion, one of the few sectors that generate a consistent trade surplus and economic growth and jobs across America.


Yet exports don't just happen – they are won, one market and one sale at a time. For the past 53 years, the Council's global initiatives have been made possible in part through USDA funding to increase the Council's effectiveness and outreach of its programming in more than 50 countries. These proven programs create and defend markets and boosted the sales of U.S. agriculture products in an increasingly competitive global marketplace.