What the Government Shutdown Means for Your Food
Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children -- otherwise known as WIC -- is done in terms of the federal government; however, because it is administered by states, it could possibly survive for a short period of time as long as state funds are available. The $6 billion program helps poor pregnant women and new mothers purchase healthy food.
USDA databases, which keep reports that are used by the market to set the price of commodities, such as soy, wheat, corn, and whatever else in the farming world, are also shut down. Without a report for this month, traders and farmers are selling products without knowing the actual value -- because that totally makes sense.
With the shutdown goes the potential of a new farm bill, although passing anything in this climate is rather unlikely regardless. The current farm bill expired last night, and it doesn't look like we'll be getting a new one anytime soon.
Last but not least, this whole debacle has switched off USDA communication with consumers and the media -- we had to research through a number of other sites, as the USDA website is not operating. Obviously, that's a pain in the ass, but it could be dangerous; say the agency somehow is able to find an outbreak of E. coli or listeria or some other contaminant: You're not going to know about it, because the USDA will not be putting out news releases or any other publications.
Keep up the good work, Congress; you're doing a fantastic job!
Follow Sara Ventiera on Twitter, @saraventiera.