As of midnight on Oct. 1 all employees deemed nonessential by the federal government were furloughed without pay. In fact, Congress has failed to pass any of the annual appropriation bills that fund government agencies and projects for the fiscal year that runs today through Sept. 30, 2014. What does this mean for your horse-industry activities?
The National Park Service, Fish and Wildlife Service, and Bureau of Land Management have closed and secured park, refuge, and visitor facilities on public lands. National Forest recreation sites, which are manned by government employees, are also closed.
Equine Imports and Exports
The USDA maintains and operates equine import, export, and quarantine facilities. Currently, border inspection is considered essential and will not experience service interruption. These facilities operate on user fees, so will continue operations as usual.
Veterinary Testing and Disease Outbreaks
Although tests already pending will be completed, new test samples submitted to the National Veterinary Service Lab in Ames, Iowa, will be stored by USDA Animal Plant Health Inspection Services staff for later processing. Should a disease outbreak occur, high-priority tests will be run at the National Veterinary Service Lab on a case-by-case basis.
Transport of Horses for Slaughter
The USDA enforces regulations for the slaughter horse transport program, so the shutdown will impact this program, as well.
Temporary Workers and Visas
Processing of applications for H-2A temporary agricultural wor