U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue last night sent the following two letters to Governors across the nation and leadership of major meat processing companies. These letters establish the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) clear expectations for the implementation of President Donald J. Trump’s Executive Order signed last week.
The President’s Executive order directs plants to follow the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) guidance specific to the meat processing industry to keep these critical facilities open while maintaining worker safety.
In Perdue’s letter to stakeholders the Secretary said, “Meat and poultry processing plants contemplating reductions of operations or recently closed since Friday May 1, and without a clear timetable for near term resumption of operations, should submit written documentation of their operations and health and safety protocol developed based on the CDC/OSHA guidance to USDA.” Perdue added, “Plants should resume operations as soon as they are able after implementing the CDC/OSHA guidance for the protection of workers.”
USDA expects state and local officials to work with these critical meat processing facilities to maintain operational status while protecting the health of their employees.
Perdue finished by saying, “Meat processing facilities are critical infrastructure and are essential to the national security of our nation. Keeping these facilities operational is critical to the food supply chain and we expect our partners across the country to work with us on this issue.”
Over the past weeks, some meat processing facilities across the country have reduced production by 80 percent or more at times, creating total slaughter figures to drop by 40 to 60 percent.
Northern Ag Network – 2020