INDIANAPOLIS — On April 28, President Trump announced the use of the Defense Production Act to keep U.S. meat processors running despite COVID-19 outbreaks that had caused many facilities to shutdown entirely or alter their work. Response from Indiana livestock and agricultural groups was largely positive, but acknowledging more is needed to stabilize the meat supply chain.
“We appreciate President Trump’s decision to issue the executive order for packing plants. If plants can process our animals while keeping workers safe that is a step in the right direction for the plants, pork farmers and consumers,” said Josh Trenary, executive director of Indiana Pork. “However, with the severity of the backups of pigs on farms across the country, there is still much more work to be done to alleviate the strain on our farmers and their animals.”
The executive order will help ensure a steady, reliable supply of high-quality U.S. protein — not only for customers in the United States, but across the globe, said a statement from the Indiana Beef Cattle Association. The U.S. beef industry is already taking extraordinary steps to ensure worker safety, including COVID-19 testing, temperature checks, use of personal protective equipment and social distancing of employees.
But further action is needed to stabilize our meat supply chain, and the Indiana Beef Cattle Association greatly appreciates the Trump administration’s prioritization of safe and consistent meat production and processing during this difficult time. The executive order comes as welcome news not only to consumers but also to Indiana’s beef producers, who have endured severe economic hardship as a result of this pandemic.
Randy Kron, Indiana Farm Bureau president, shared the following thoughts:
“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.
“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.”
— Indiana Pork
— Indiana Beef Cattle Association
— Indiana Farm Bureau
For more articles out of Indiana, click here.