The U.S. government has shut down today after efforts to continue funding the country deadlocked.
This means all federal agencies must lay off non-essential personnel and close non-essential programs and offices, according to American Farm Bureau Federation budget specialist R. J. Karney. Essential personnel assure that Social Security checks are still sent out, mail will still be delivered and air traffic controllers will still be working, he says. The U.S. military, firefighters and the FBI are exempt from furloughs.
The federal closure also means that U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) meat and poultry inspectors stay on the job, though they will have to wait for their paychecks.
As far as other food inspectors, the Food and Drug Administration will continue high-risk recalls and investigations, but routine inspection activities will be suspended, Karney says.
USDA’s Extension Service and Rural Development offices will be closed.
Those are some short-term inconveniences. Longer term, a shutdown increases uncertainty for farmers and ranchers regarding the next farm bill. Immigration issues will also be up in the air, Karney says.
On the market side, there will be no publication of marketing news or livestock slaughter or price data beginning Oct. 1. Cattle, hog, beef and pork markets will continue to function and animals and products will be sold, but without the normal publicly available data from which to gauge offers and bids, according to the Daily Livestock Report (www.dailylivestockreport.com).