Officials inside and outside the Defense Department have been warning for months about the dire economic impact of a looming budget sequester on the American economy, especially because contractors could be forced into layoffs. Now, as if to show just how deep the department's economic impact is, the Pentagon announced this week that it intended to procure high quantities of a particular item in order to jump-start production and shore up a hurting sector.
The item in question? Meat.
"At the direction of the president, and in light of the historic drought, the Defense Department is reviewing its procurement of beef, pork and lamb to determine if additional or accelerated purchases can be made to provide some relief to the agriculture industry and get the benefit of current lower prices," Defense declared Monday.
The purchases could make a difference. The military buys about 94 million pounds of beef, 64 million pounds of pork, and 500,000 pounds of lamb each year.