With the sequestration budget cuts taking affect the ag industry is greatly concerned about how the USDA is going to be able to handle furloughs of meat inspectors. Livestock analysts report that the USDA is contractually obliged to give meat inspectors a thirty day notice of any furloughs, and if the agency is forced to implement those furloughs, it would more than likely do so by staggering the layoffs. That way production would be limited but not stopped in its tracks. In the meantime, the FDA is declaring that sequestration budget cuts could result in over two thousand fewer food safety inspections this year, bringing with it an increase in food safety risks for consumers. Interestingly, several Republican Representatives call the deep sequestration budget cuts nothing more than “modest” reductions, and that they’re not sure they will actually hurt the economy. Now we are all waiting to see what Congress will do by its second deadline, March 27, dealing with the question of funding the government. I’m not normally a betting person, but I would lay ten to one that Congress will be much more motivated to act before this newest deadline takes effect. The idea of shutting down the entire federal government scares both sides far more than sequestration ever could.