Today’s Topic: Mandatory federal budget cuts could affect N.C. agriculture
Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler sits down each week with Southern Farm Network’s Rhonda Garrison to discuss “Today’s Topic.”
Unless Congress and the White House reach a last-minute deal, automatic spending cuts for various federal agencies will take effect Friday, and the reductions could have an impact on agriculture in North Carolina.
Commissioner Troxler tells Rhonda that one of the biggest immediate impacts of sequestration would be furloughs of federal meat and poultry inspectors. That means many meat and poultry plants that operate under daily inspection would not be able to.
The NCDA&CS Meat and Poultry Inspection Division operates under an agreement with USDA, and even the state inspectors would be affected by these cuts because of the amount of federal funding involved. It’s unclear whether USDA would furlough non-essential personnel, leaving the meat and poultry inspectors on the job.
There also has been a lot of talk about the number of FDA food safety inspectors who would be temporarily laid off under the spending cuts. The immediate impact from cuts at FDA would not be as great in North Carolina, Troxler says, because the NCDA&CS Food and Drug Protection Division does most of the inspections in food manufacturing plants, grocery stores and other facilities. But there could be long-term impacts on federal grants that the department and other states receive for doing certain types of work for federal agencies.
Click on the audio player below to listen to Commissioner Troxler and Rhonda talk about the potential impacts of sequestration on N.C. agriculture.
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