**Meat inspectors are working in meat packing plants despite the government shutdown.

That’s the National Pork Producers Council’s response to in the news, mostly on social media.

Agwired.com reports, NPPC and other livestock groups a year ago urged Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue to deem as essential USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service inspectors.

Also continuing to operate during the shutdown are USDA Market News Service staff who produce the twice-daily livestock mandatory price reports.

**New legislation would provide legal status for immigrant workers and provide employers with a more stable workforce.

The bill would allow immigrant workers to receive a "blue card" if they have worked in the U.S. at least 100 days over the previous two years.

According to milkbusiness.com, once a blue card is obtained, and if the status is maintained for three to five years, workers would be eligible for permanent residence.

The National Milk Producers Federation supports the bill.

**Last weekend’s winter storm, followed by a plunge in temperatures, coupled with another cold push, could threaten livestock in the U.S. Plains and possibly winter wheat in parts of the Midwest.

Agriculture.com reports, the storm brought 2 to 8 inches of snow from South Dakota to northern Ohio, with up to 10 inches in northern Iowa.

Winter storm warnings were posted in South Dakota and Iowa and winter storm watches all the way to New England.

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