Maybe there won’t be any meat inspector furloughs after all.

Congress passed a continuing resolution bill last week that would fund the government through the end of the current fiscal year. That resolution included an amendment from Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Mark Pryor (D-AR) that shifts $55 million from USDA accounts to pay Food Safety Inspection Service inspectors until Oct. 1. What it needs now is the signature of President Obama.

“Had inspection been halted, this would have resulted in a backlog of animals, shortened supply of beef to market, higher prices and harm to the futures markets,” says Scott George, a Wyoming cattle producer who serves as president of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association. “By the USDA Secretary’s own estimates, this would have equated to $10 billion in production losses and $400 million in lost wages, only compounding the issues faced by ranchers dealing with the worst drought in 50 years.”

 

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