President Trump Utilizes Authority Under Defense Production Act to Keep Meatpacking Plants Open

(APRIL 29) – On Tuesday, President Donald J. Trump issued an executive order which invoked his authority under the Defense Production Act to secure the food supply chain during the current national emergency caused by COVID-19. The executive order signed late Tuesday afternoon at the White House specifically directs Secretary Sonny Perdue to “take all appropriate action under that section to ensure that meat and poultry processors continue operations consistent with the guidance for their operations jointly issued by the CDC and OSHA.”

United States Cattlemen’s Association (USCA) President Brooke Miller issued the following statement:

“Earlier this month, USCA sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture urging Secretary Perdue to do everything in his power to keep meatpacking plants operational during these uncertain times. Last week, at a meeting hosted by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, we learned that the U.S. meatpacking sector was operating at only 60 percent of its full capacity, with nearly 8 percent of plants ‘off line’.  As we see farmers and ranchers forced to make difficult decisions this week due to that reduction in slaughter capacity, we are appreciative of the President’s decision to step in and ensure the safety and security of the food supply chain.

“Further, USCA encourages employers to consider the health of their employees first and foremost during this global pandemic. All OSHA and CDC guidelines should be strictly adhered to, and consideration for hazard pay should be given to these essential employees for the work they are performing under extenuating circumstances. We are exceptionally grateful to these front line individuals for continuing to show up everyday to provide Americans with a safe, abundant food supply.”