Skip to content

Blunt, Hawley Join Bipartisan Effort Urging USDA to Support Pork Producers

April 16, 2020

WASHINGTON — Today, Missouri Senators Roy Blunt and Josh Hawley joined a bipartisan, bicameral letter urging U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to take immediate action to assist pork producers and maintain the pork food supply chain.
“We hope this component of the supply chain is restored quickly,” the members of Congress wrote.  “However, in the event that producers are unable to schedule harvest of their hogs, we request that you consider how to use your existing authorities and available funds to compensate producers for losses. Furthermore, we request that Natural Resource Conservation Service consider how to provide financial and technical assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program for affected producers, if needed.”
The letter follows the closure of Smithfield processing plants in Sioux Falls, S.D. and Martin City, Mo. Missouri processing plants depend on supply chains that cross state borders and Missouri’s local workforce is heavily impacted by closures nationwide.
Full text of the letter here and below:
The Honorable Sonny Perdue
Secretary
U.S. Department of Agriculture
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20250
Dear Secretary Perdue,
We write to bring your attention to the closure of the Smithfield pork processing plant in Sioux Falls, SD and to urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to take action to assist pork producers and maintain the pork supply chain
On April 12, 2020, Smithfield Foods announced it will indefinitely close its Sioux Falls plant due to a COVID-19 outbreak.  This plant provides approximately 130 million servings of pork per week, and we are concerned about the impact this closure will have not only on the plant employees, but also on the more than 500 independent family farms who supply the plant.
To assist pork producers during this difficult time, we request that USDA conduct pork purchases and provide financial assistance to producers. We request that assistance be provided in an equitable manner that recognizes the various challenges pork producers are facing due to COVID-19 and limits market distortions.
We hope this component of the supply chain is restored quickly.  However, in the event that producers are unable to schedule harvest of their hogs, we request that you consider how to use your existing authorities and available funds to compensate producers for losses.  Furthermore, we request that Natural Resource Conservation Service consider how to provide financial and technical assistance through the Environmental Quality Incentives Program for affected producers, if needed.

It is critically important that we maintain our pork supply chain to ensure that consumers continue to have access to high-quality pork products in grocery stores and supermarkets throughout the country, especially during the COVID-19 crisis.  Thank you for your continued efforts to mitigate the effects of COVID-19 on U.S. agriculture and for your prompt attention to our request.

Next Article » « Previous Article