US Shutdown: No Long-term Effects on North American Pork Industry Expected

NORTH AMERICA - A business development specialist pork with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development expects the partial shutdown of US government services to have no substantial impact on the North American pork industry, Bruce Cochrane writes.
calendar icon 22 October 2013
clock icon 3 minute read

As a result of the U.S. federal funding stalemate in Congress non-essential U.S. government services including the U.S. Department of Agriculture's tracking of hog pricing information used by industry to establish live hog prices on a daily basis were suspended for just over two weeks.

Ron Gietz, a business development specialist pork with Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development says the whole pork industry has grown quite reliant on this information but the shutdown was short lived and only the flow of information was affected.

Ron Gietz- Alberta Agriculture and Rural Development

It wasn't the end of the world in terms of the industry.

Things went on.

Hogs still grew and they got ready for market and were taken to market and processed, the inspections and so on took place as an essential service but basically we were kind of flying in a cloud bank so we didn't really know how many, we didn't know what the prices were being negotiated on those animals and in fact in some cases the prices were just kind of set aside to be negotiated when the information came out.

It's going to be a gradual process to repopulate those reports.

For example we're getting the daily reports now and then we'll get the weekly reports as the data gets accumulated.

There is a bit of a question mark whether we're going to get some of the back data from the period during which the shutdown was in place.

Certainly we should.

The information was all collected electronically at the packer level and so on so the information is out there and but it could be a little bit lower priority so there could be a delay till we actually find out what really happened during that period.

Mr Gietz acknowledges there were definitely costs associated with the shutdown in terms of extra effort but it's hard to put an actual number on it and everyone is thankful the shutdown was short lived.

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