Processing plant disruption puts US pork farmer jobs at risk

Processing plant disruption puts US pork farmer jobs at risk

Pork farmers in the United States are at risk of losing their jobs due to the closure of processing plants causing a nationwide meat shortage, according to a BBC report.

President Donald Trump had previously issued an executive order calling on meat plants across the country to reopen in order to maintain the nations supply of meat after a number of plants closed because of a rise in Covid-19 cases.

However, absentee rates in US meat processing facilities have reportedly increased after a number of workers refused to go back to work following the forced reopening of plants from the US Government, yet several plants still remain shut.

This comes after seven members of stuff at JBS USA’s Greeley site died from the virus, and nearly 5,000 workers at meat processing facilities in the US have contracted the virus, according to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“On the same day that we’re euthanising pigs – and it’s a horrible day – is the same day that a grocery store 10 miles away may not get a shipment of pork. It’s just that the supply chain is broken at this point.”

Due to the breakdown in the supply chain, an estimated 10,000 pigs are being euthanised every day, according to the Minnesota Pork Producers Association.

Speaking to the BBC, Mike Boerboom, a pork farmer from Minnesota, told the BBC: “It’s mind-blowing to look at all the pigs in here. With the situation that’s going on, there’s a chance that none of these may end up in the food chain.

“On the same day that we’re euthanising pigs – and it’s a horrible day – is the same day that a grocery store 10 miles away may not get a shipment of pork. It’s just that the supply chain is broken at this point.”

Carolyn Dimitri, associate professor of nutrition and food studies at NYU, said: “They can’t work at home, they have to show up, and if they don’t show up, they lose their jobs. I think a lot of farms are probably going to go out of business.”

Boerboom added: “It potentially could lead to staffing cuts or needing to work with less contract growers, which in a community like this will be a huge trickle-down effect. Everything in a rural area would be impacted.

“Every day that you raise a pig, you’re raising it for food. You’re raising it to put it on someone’s table. The thought that you’re going to take what was food and just throw it away… it makes you sick to your stomach.”

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