CR forces USDA to curb its spending while farm program payments continue unrestricted

By Jon H. Harsch

© Copyright Agri-Pulse Communications, Inc.

Washington, Oct. 4 - Since Congress failed to pass any appropriations bills for Fiscal 2011 which started Oct. 1, USDA will be pinching pennies for the next few weeks, and perhaps longer. The problem will continue until Congress, which returns Nov. 15, replaces the short-term “Continuing Resolution” (CR) which provides funding at FY 2010 levels only through Dec. 3.

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To deal with life under the CR, USDA has issued assurances that all Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) payments will go out “with no restrictions.” This includes full Conservation Reserve Program rental and cost-share payments.

While other USDA loan programs will be funded “contingent upon availability of National Reserve funds,” funding will continue to be available for unsubsidized guaranteed operating, guaranteed farm ownership, guaranteed operating with interest assistance, and guaranteed conservation loans.

USDA warns that during the CR period, there will be “limited funding availability” and that “Discretionary activities such as travel, training, or the purchase of supplies should be limited to mission critical operations.”

USDA warns additionally that “House and Senate action on the appropriations bills so far indicate that full year appropriations may be below the requested level which would impact full year allotment levels.”

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