Johnson, Hagedorn, and Grassley Send Letter to USDA, DOJ Appealing Harmful Court Ruling to Hog Farmers

June 25, 2021
Press Release

WASHINGTON – Yesterday, Representatives Jim Hagedorn (MN-01) and Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) joined Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) in sending a letter to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Vilsack and the Department of Justice (DOJ) Acting Solicitor General Prelogar to urge the Administration to pursue all legal actions in a recent U.S. district court case that will slow swine inspection line speeds by June 30th, 2021 resulting in massive financial harm to American hog farmers. The letter was signed by 59 Representatives and 14 Senators.

“The impact of this ruling will be devastating to the country’s small and mid-sized hog producers – especially in southern Minnesota. For two decades, six pork processing facilities have been able to operate at higher line speeds, including one in Austin, MN, with little evidence of worker safety concerns,” said Congressman Hagedorn. “The NSIS rule would allow more facilities to increase their line speeds and overall processing capacity. If USDA does not take prompt action, the slowing of line speeds will result in less processing capacity, more consolidation in the pork industry, and higher consumer costs.”

“This recent court ruling will hurt pork producers and consumers both in Iowa and around the country. Although NSIS is relatively new, Secretary Vilsack oversaw the successful HIMP program during his first term as Secretary and he knows how important this rule is to the pork industry,” Senator Grassley said. “Producers have had a hard enough year with all the obstacles surrounding the pandemic. They don’t need the added concern about market disruption with a slowdown in processing and economic loss of excess hogs on the market.”

 “Across livestock industries, processing capacities are already stressed, but our pork processors have successfully managed quicker line speeds safely for decades under NSIS,” said Congressman Johnson. “A reversal of the NSIS rule and reduction in packing capacity will make this processing problem even worse for the smallest processors and pork producers. It’s imperative USDA and the DOJ step in to correct this before independent producers are hurt and opportunity is squandered.”

Full text of the letters can be found here and here.