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Missouri Congressmen Sign Letter To Prevent Order To Reduce Pork Facility Line Speeds

This May 20, 2020, photo provided by Smithfield Foods shows some of the measures the company says it has taken to limit the spread of the coronavirus inside its plants. Workers inside its Sioux Falls, South Dakota, pork processing plant wear protective gear and are separated by plastic partitions as they carve up meat. (Photo courtesy Smithfield Foods via AP)

Senator Roy Blunt and five Missouri congressmen are among more than 70 lawmakers who signed a letter late last week asking USDA to stop a recent court order aimed at reducing pork harvest facility line speeds. Lawmakers led by Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley and Minnesota Representative Jim Hagedorn made the request in a letter to Secretary Tom Vilsack. The letter calls on the Biden administration to appeal a recent federal district court ruling striking down line speeds at pork processing plants, as allowed under USDA’s New Swine Inspection System.

The National Pork Producers Council says the order will lead to pork industry concentration and increased market power for plant operators at the expense of small hog farmers. NPPC President Jen Sorenson argues that, “While the administration can appeal the court’s decision until the end of August, the damage to U.S. pork producers will be immediate.” Pork Industry Economist Steve Meyer adds that the order, “reduces competition because the impacted plants will process fewer hogs, leaving more pigs available to other packers.”

Congressmen Sam Graves, Vicky Hartzler, Blaine Luetkemeyer, Jason Smith and Ann Wagner were among the lawmakers who signed letters addressed to Secretary Vilsack and Acting Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar.

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