With the advent of the government shutdown, there has been some confusion over the jobs of Federal Beef inspectors in packing plants. These jobs are considered essential to the public good and will continue uninterrupted. This is good news, for if they weren’t, cattle futures would be in a steep decline right now. With all of this uncertainty unfolding around us though, it is hardly good for beef demand over time. Federal price reporting of wholesale beef prices on the other hand is considered nonessential and has ceased, so it will be interesting to see how the price discovery process will shake out. Hopefully, it won’t be to the cattle feeders’ detriment. Cattle prices have risen slowly throughout the summer and fall, and some cattle are now making a profit. This is welcome news. Feed costs are finally coming down, which is also good news, though this is somewhat tempered by a rather dramatic rise in the price of cash feeder cattle.