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Budget cuts could force shutdown of meat industry
Massive budget cuts will automatically go into effect next Friday because of the looming budget crisis in Congress. That means we could see furloughs including at the USDA.
That's just one of the possibilities of the looming sequestration - a two week shutdown of the meat industry.
It's a hot topic among cattle producers at this year's Nebraska Cattlemen's Classic.
Many of them are saying it could have disastrous affects.
15 days without a single meat inspector at work nationwide. The affects could be devastating on the meat industry. Many Nebraskans know this all too well.
"We have a huge problem coming up and we need to find a solution to this problem right now," said Ana Douthitenfield.
Packing plants can't keep packing without inspectors.
"That shuts that plant down. There's 6,000 workers without a job. That is going to have a huge impact on the city of Grand Island and other cities like it around the United States who have processing houses," said Douthitenfield.
Packing plants won't be the only ones put to a halt.
"It would be a tidal wave effect if that were the case. I mean all the way from the cow calf producer to the feedlot, to the packer, to the consumer," said Cory Banzhaf, C Lazy B Cattle.
The organization Nebraska Cattlemen says it's the government's job to provide consumers with a safe and healthy product.
"By not having the USDA inspectors in the plants, they're not holding up to that. They're not helping the beef producers supply a safe product for our consumers," said Bonita Lederer, Nebraska Cattlemen.
Halting meat production for two straight weeks could cost our country billions.
As producers lose money consumers may pay the price.
But, as for a widespread food shortage?
"I sincerely doubt it would cause a food shortage for the United States of America," Douthitenfield said.
Representatives with Nebraska Cattlemen say they don't believe the furlough will actually happen. And to help stop it, they're urging people to contact their senators to voice their opinion.
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