Federal poultry, egg, meat, grain and other commodity inspections, including those related to import and export activities, will continue in the event of a U.S. government shutdown, according to an Agriculture Department official. The majority of other government agriculture-related activities will likely be halted.

The announcement comes after National Chicken Council President Mike Brown and National Turkey Federation President Joel Brandenberger wrote a joint letter to Congress and the administration reiterating the importance of federal inspectors to the poultry and other agriculture industries. "The economic havoc and the impact on jobs would be enormous if federal inspectors are not deemed to be essential," said Brown. "Should the government shut down, we will still need access to these inspectors in our plants."


Beyond the inspections, the majority of U.S. Department of Agriculture services would be shut down, according to officials. Farm loans and payments, the provision of rural development loans and grants, agricultural export credit and market news reports would all be halted or discontinued for the duration of the shutdown.

Congress has until 12:01 a.m. EST on April 9 to put together an appropriations bill or a further continuing resolution for the 2011 fiscal year before a shutdown goes into effect.