Member Alert: USCA Sends Letter Urging Packing Plants to Stay Open

Today,USCA sent a letter to Secretary Sonny Perdue urging the U.S. Department of Agriculture to do everything in their power to keep packing plants open during the fallout from COVID-19.

According to Cassie Fish ofThe Beef, “Estimates for this week’s slaughter are 570,000 to 590,000 head, which would be the smallest non-holiday kill for this week since 2016-2017.” To further this point, USCA is hearing reports of plants slowing down production, or shutting down completely, due to workforce complications related to COVID-19.

Should this trend continue, we will see a bottleneck of production that could cause further irreparable harm to producers already experiencing a dysfunctional marketplace. We also understand that a production slowdown would dramatically impact the livelihoods of our livestock haulers.

In our letter, USCA reiterates “While ensuring worker safety and health remain a priority, U.S. meatpacking plants need to continue to operate at maximum capacity. Failure to do so would result in catastrophic supply chain failures, shortages of beef and other meat products at grocery stores, and a marketplace crash for U.S. cattle producers due to an inability to get their cattle marketed in a timely fashion.”

USCA will continue pushing for the speedy distribution of funding through the CARES Act, which earmarked $9.5 billion in COVID-19 relief for livestock producers, specialty crops and local agriculture systems. Many stakeholders, including members of USCA’s COVID-19 Producer Task Force, are in regular communication with those agency officials who are currently designing how that funding will be distributed. USDA has not yet announced when those funds will be available, but as USCA members, you will be among the first to know.

Read the Letter 

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