Depending on the USDA’s action, the sequestration measures could have a big impact on local farmers and businesses. The federal budget cuts, which go into effect today, could lead the United States Department of Agriculture to furlough, or temporarily layoff, Food Safety inspectors.
Mark Dopp, the American Meat Institute(AMI) Senior Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, says with less inspectors the around 6,300 federally inspected meat and poultry processing facilities, including the Tyson plant in Columbus Junction, could end up reducing the amount of days a week they operate. He says that would cause a backup in the supply chain, negatively impacting processing plants and those raising livestock and poultry.
He says even if furloughing is necessary, the USDA needs to meet its obligations, adding AMI believes there is sufficient flexibility in the Budget Control Act to allow the USDA to meet sequestration requirements and still satisfy their other obligations, specifically those under the Meat Inspection Act, which requires the USDA to provide inspectors.