Congressman Steve King announces that he has signed a letter to President Trump requesting that the Trump Administration “immediately provide national guidance allowing livestock depopulation and disposal expenses to be reimbursed under Category B of the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Public Assistance program.” The request for FEMA reimbursement comes in the wake of COVID-19 related processing plant closures and slowdowns throughout the Midwest that are forcing many producers to euthanize market ready, healthy hogs. The letter was circulated by House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a crisis in which processing capability has been taken offline and pork producers are being forced to euthanize millions of market ready hogs,” said King. “FEMA has often stepped in to help producers deal with animal losses in the wake of a natural disaster, and the unprecedented nature of the COVID-19 virus deserves a similarly proactive response. Our farmers and ranchers need help, and the FEMA assistance I am requesting is part of the solution. Pork producers should also be indemnified for euthanized hogs, and I am drafting legislation to do so.”
Congressman King has been leading efforts in Congress to fight on behalf of the nation’s pork producers. On April 29, at the invitation of Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, King took part in a press conference held in Worthington, Minnesota to draw attention to the pressures processing plant closures have forced on America’s farmers. King then went to the JBS plant to visit with some of the workers and to observe the euthanization process.
Worthington is home to the JBS pork plant which closed for two weeks on April 21, and which has begun euthanizing healthy, market-ready hogs which have, so far, been shipped to rendering.
King recently told KIOW News that due to the closing of plants, the number of hogs versus the capacity to harvest them would make it impossible to process all of them.
In addition, King is leading the effort to investigate meat packers for alleged antitrust violations, including market tampering and price-fixing. On April 13, King wrote to Attorney General Barr and Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, requesting an investigation into allegations of antitrust violations in the cattle industry, and King made his concerns known to the White House. In the wake of King’s request, President Trump has announced that he has ordered the Department of Justice to initiate an investigation.