WV Agriculture programs maintaining public safety during federal - Beckley, Bluefield & Lewisburg News, Weather, Sports

WV Agriculture programs maintaining public safety during federal shutdown

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The West Virginia Department of Agriculture has the ability and the authority to protect human and animal health in the Mountain State regardless of the duration of the federal government shutdown, according to West Virginia Commissioner of Agriculture Walt Helmick.

"The state code grants the Commissioner of Agriculture broad powers to conduct inspections, enact embargoes and quarantines, and to deal with any disease outbreaks in livestock," Helmick said. "Although our federal partners provide welcome assistance in many regards, the WVDA is continuing its wide-ranging daily activities of protecting West Virginia and its agricultural resources."

Generally, the WVDA has had little change in its operations since the partial government shutdown began. Daily inspections at livestock slaughter and processing facilities has continued, along with surveillance of egg and dairy products, disease testing of poultry flocks, export certification of West Virginia timber and a host of other routine activities.

Earlier in the week, the WVDA moved its Livestock Market Report to the department's webpage, rather than sending it to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to integrate into a national report because USDA's website has been offline during the federal shutdown.