As the federal government shutdown continues, so do its impacts on the meat industry’s regulators.
Nearing its two-week mark, the shutdown now is complicating USDA’s trade-relief program and puts in limbo the agency’s plans to put a food safety boss in place, among other issues.
Amidst the standstill no payments from the trade-relief program are being made to any producer who hadn’t certified production by last Friday. Local Farm Agency offices are now closed until Congress approves new funding, Politico reports.
Bill Northey, under secretary for farm production and conservation, is quoted as saying Agriculture Secretary Perdue might extend the Jan. 15 application deadline.
The shutdown doesn’t affect producers who already certified their 2018 production. USDA has paid out $2.78 billion since appropriations expired on Dec. 21, and has processed $5.2 billion of the total $9.6 billion aid allotment, according to Politico.
Food safety boss
Meanwhile, Mindy Brashears’ nomination for undersecretary for food safety might have to go back to square one.
Hers was not included on a slate of more than 70 nominations that the Senate approved on Wednesday, a day before the 115th Congress ended. It will likely be sent back to the White House to be renominated under the new Congress, Politico reports.
President Trump nominated Brashears, a food safety and public health professor at Texas Tech University, in May 2018.The top food safety office has been vacant for more than five years since Dr. Elisabeth Hagen left in December 2013.