Soon after the government shutdown started, the USDA website became unavailable "due to the lapse in federal government funding."
Now the USDA's website is up and running, but with one caveat: "Although the website is now available, content has not been updated since September 30, 2013."
Now that the site is back online, users should have access to historical supply and demand information, though no updates have been made since September 30. Since the government shutdown, producers and analysts have had to cope without data from the USDA.
In a recent interview with Farm and Dairy, Ralph Wince, grain merchandiser with Agland Co-op of Canfield, Ohio, said the market "doesn't have a direction." That's because the USDA hasn't released its regular reports on the state of the harvest.
The USDA typically releases a weekly report updating the progress of crops, data highlighting foreign trade, and a monthly report that covers supply and demand for corn, soybeans, wheat and other major crops.
The USDA's latest yield report was scheduled for release on Oct. 11, but government furloughs have delayed the release. It's hard to know when, or if, the data will be released.
Until then, it's tough to say how far-reaching the consequences of the shutdown will be on the markets.
The websites for the Farm Service Agency and the Agricultural Marketing Service are still unavailable.