Meat Industry Could See Temporary Halt in Production - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Meat Industry Could See Temporary Halt in Production

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TOPPENISH, Wash.-- Brad McDowell, the President of Washington Beef in Toppenish said the proposed furloughs of food safety inspectors could have damaging effects.

Production in the meat industry would come to a temporary standstill and cost a smaller company like Washington Beef some major cash.

"Taking a day off production in certain market environments can cost us hundreds of thousands of dollars for each day," said McDowell.

Under the proposed spending cuts, Washington Beef must take 22 days off from July to September. McDowell said this means they'd have to close down one or two days out of the week. He said they won't lay off employees since the furloughs are temporary, but their paycheck could be almost split in half.

"That will have a trickle down effect throughout this area because we have 900 people that will be making less money for whatever time that the furlough is in place," said McDowell.

He said this doesn't just hurt employees and the company. It also hurts the vendors and the livestock producers as well.

"Probably the most pressing challenge we have right now is commitment on livestock, and livestock placement because we're making decisions today for June and July," said McDowell. "So when you don't know what's going to happen in June and July that's difficult."

In the next two weeks McDowell will travel to Olympia to raise his concerns and work to find another solution.

He said even though the furloughs would be temporary, stopping production and losing this amount of money is something you can never fully recover from.

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