President Donald Trump Tuesday announced his intention to sign an executive order to keep meatpacking plants open during the COVID-19 pandemic. The President will use the Defense Production Act to order companies to stay open as critical infrastructure, as meatpacking plants over the past couple of weeks closed with spikes in coronavirus cases among employees.
The plan allows the federal government to supply additional personal protective equipment to meat processing facilities, according to Bloomberg News.
The supply chain slowdown presents dire factors for farmers, with poultry and pork producers left with no alternative other than euthanizing animals. The order will affect processing plants for beef, chicken, eggs and pork.
Indiana Farm Bureau President Randy Kron says they are in support of President Trump’s decision.
““Indiana’s pork producers are some of the most productive in the world. They operate in a just-in-time supply chain that creates a safe and abundant food supply. These farmers are facing heartbreaking decisions right now with nowhere to send their animals due to Tyson, Indiana Packers, and several others across the country closing their packing plants. The slow down or elimination of meat processing capacity creates animal welfare, environmental, and food supply problems,” Kron says. “Indiana Farm Bureau supports President Trump’s implementation of the Defense Production Act to keep meat processing facilities open in order to maintain the food supply. Farmers have already lost income due to this pandemic and reopening these facilities won’t bring that back; this is about maintaining animal welfare and a reliable food supply. It is clear that meat processing plants are critical infrastructure that depends on a skilled workforce that is safe and protected from Coronavirus infection. We will continue to support pork producers through this extremely challenging time.”
American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall said of the decision, “The COVID-19 pandemic has created an unprecedented crisis for American farmers. Farmers and ranchers face the heartbreaking decision to euthanize animals because of plant closures. It’s important for our elected leaders at all levels to understand the critical nature of this crisis.
“We don’t yet know the details of the President’s actions to address meat packing plant closures but are hopeful it will protect the health and safety of workers while keeping farmers and ranchers in the business of providing food for families across America.”
Republican U.S. Senators from Iowa, Chuck Grassley and Joni Ernst, this week, urged the administration to invoke the Defense Production Act. The Senators asked for assistance for processing plants, assistance for euthanizing animals, indemnity payments for depopulation costs and mental health assistance for all affected.
Source: NAFB News Service