Could government spending cuts imperil the U.S. meat industry?

Private business owners from companies both large and small are anxiously awaiting March 1, when the so-called sequestration cuts will kick in. These mandatory spending reductions are expected to influence nearly every area of government, from national defense to renewable energy research.

One area that has received less coverage by the mainstream media, however, could prove to be a significant challenge for the Obama administration as it tries to balance an economic recovery with the financial reality of excessive debt. The U.S. Department of Agriculture, which oversees safety inspections of a wide range of products, including meat, might be forced to furlough or lay off some of its inspectors. Because of federal regulations requiring a seal of approval from the USDA before any shipment can be sent across state lines, Bloomberg News Reports, companies in the billion-dollar meatpacking industry could face significant losses.

Hoping to assuage both investors and everyday citizens, USDA chief Tom Vilsack told reporters on February 4 that it could be several months before the sequestration hits inspection funding. However, he refused to say whether or not these cuts could occur later in the year.

"You're going to have fewer inspections," Vilsack said simply. Bloomberg reported that the USDA is responsible for overseeing more than 6,000 slaughterhouses throughout the nation. With an estimated workforce of approximately 84,000 spread between the 50 U.S. states, any personnel reductions could imperil the agency's ability to do its job.

Without consistent inspections, meatpackers won't be able to do business as efficiently, which could cut profits and hurt the wider economy. American investors, therefore, may want to review their assets and investments to see whether or not they are at risk of potential losses due to the sequestration. To learn more about methods of wealth preservation that can help you protect your livelihood, visit today.