Iowa meatpacking town fears impact of federal cuts

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Posted: Friday, March 1, 2013 12:00 am

COLUMBUS JUNCTION, Iowa (AP) — Automatic federal budget reductions set to take effect today could fall like a meat ax on the small Iowa town of Columbus Junction, where a sprawling Tyson Foods hog-processing plant dominates the economy.

The White House has warned that 6,300 meat and poultry plants could slow production or temporarily shut down under the across-the-board cuts, which may force the Agriculture Department to furlough meat inspectors. By law, those plants cannot operate without Food Safety and Inspection Service workers present to ensure products are safe for consumption.

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