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September 30, 2013

Impact of Government Shutdown on Agriculture

For more information on Newsline, contact: Kari Barbic, Media Specialist, American Farm Bureau Federation, karib@fb.org.

The clock is ticking and it looks more and more likely that the federal government will shut down on Tuesday. American Farm Bureau budget specialist RJ Karney explains what that means for agricultural interests in this story from AFBF’s Johnna Miller.
Miller:If you think a government shutdown only has an impact inside the Beltway, think again. A shutdown means all federal agencies must layoff non-essential personnel and close non-essential programs and offices.
Karney:Essential personnel typically revolves around public safety. It would require sending out Social Security checks. Mail will still be delivered. Air traffic controllers will still be working.
Miller:American Farm Bureau budget specialist RJ Karney says that also includes Department of Agriculture’s meat and poultry inspectors, though they’ll have to wait to get paid. But what about other food inspectors?
Karney:The Food and Drug Administration will still continue high-risk recalls and investigations, but routine inspection activities will be suspended.
Miller:Extension and rural development will be closed.
Karney:Americans will experience inconveniences with the government shutdown. And that’s going to be in the short term. If the shutdown continues over a longer period of time there will be a lot more uncertainty for farmers and ranchers about what’s going to happen with the farm bill. Immigration issues need to be addressed by this Congress and these are major, major issues for farmers and ranchers. Everything else will be placed on hold until Congress can take care of these budgetary issues.
Miller:Johnna Miller, Washington.
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