Sen. Ricketts to USDA: Your employees should get Essential Worker status in a government shutdown scenario

Senator Pete Ricketts, the Republican from Nebraska, is advocating for essential worker status for the 50,000 employees of the US Dept. of Agriculture amid government shutdown concerns.

As the threat of a government shutdown looms, Senator Pete Ricketts (R-Neb.) is urging the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) to designate its employees as essential workers. This move would ensure the uninterrupted reporting of agricultural market data, particularly concerning the potential disruptions at U.S. ports that could significantly impact trade and agriculture.

One of the primary concerns voiced by Sen. Ricketts is the potential disruptions at U.S. ports, which could have major impacts on trade and agriculture. With the possibility of a government shutdown just around the corner, there is growing uncertainty about the continued operation of these ports and the timely handling of agricultural exports and imports.

“We know Customs and Border Patrol, for example, will continue to work, but there’s a lot of contractors that also work that are not going to be on the job or get paid or whatever,” Sen. Ricketts said this week. “So, it’s going to create a lot of confusion with regard to trade and of course, trade is a vital part of what we do with regard to agriculture.”

If Congress fails to reach a deal to fund the government by Sept. 30, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack said approximately 50,000 USDA employees would go on furlough when the government shutdown commences on October 1.

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