WASHINGTON – The US Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) released a summary of services impacted by the federal government shutdown which has stretched into a sixth day with no signs of ending soon.
Sixty-one percent of the USDA’s employees are exempt or excepted from the shutdown during the first week. That number will decrease as the shutdown continues, the agency said. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue emphasized that the shutdown didn’t mean a letdown in USDA’s obligations to protect life and property through the agency’s services.
“Our employees work hard every day to benefit our customers and the farmers, ranchers, foresters, and producers who depend on our programs,” Perdue said. “During a shutdown, we will leverage our existing resources as best we can to continue to provide the top-notch service people expect.”
Some USDA activities that will continue in the short-term include:
- Meat, poultry, and processed egg inspection services.
- Grain and other commodity inspection, weighing, grading, and IT support services funded by user fees.
- Inspections for import and export activities to prevent the introduction and dissemination of pests into and out of the US, including inspections from Hawaii and Puerto Rico to the mainland.
- USDA’s Market News Service.
Some activities that will not be continued and will be shut down in an orderly fashion during a government funding lapse include:
- All recreation sites across the US National Forest System, unless they are operated by external parties under a recreational special use permit.
- Investigation of packers and stockyards related to fraudulent and anti-competitive activities.
- Economic Research Service (ERS) Commodity Outlook Reports, Data Products, research reports, staff analysis, and projections. The ERS public website would be taken offline.
A summary of USDA’s shutdown plans can be found at: https://www.usda.gov/sites/default/files/documents/usda-shutdown-plan-summary.pdf