Sen. Tillis, Rep. Johnson Urge USDA to Protect Nation’s Food Supply During Coronavirus Outbreak

March 16, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Representative Dusty Johnson (R-SD) sent a letter to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Sonny Perdue urging the department to take all necessary steps to ensure there are no disruptions to our nation’s food supply chain as we combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“We encourage you to use all of your available authorities to maximize flexibility to guarantee USDA inspectors are available for on-site inspections and ensure that our processing facilities maintain current productivity levels,” wrote Senator Tillis and Representative Johnson. “Additionally, we ask that you collaborate with industry partners in developing and releasing information to inform the public about USDA’s planned actions.

“The protein supply chain for beef, pork and poultry functions requires consistency,” the members continued. “Producers and markets are looking for any assurances that the department is taking proactive steps to mitigate any disruptions. Moreover, as some states take proactive steps to limit the spread of the virus, we strongly urge that all meat processing facilities be deemed “essential” operations.”

Read the full letter below and HERE.

Dear Secretary Perdue:

We write today to urge the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) to take swift and proactive steps to minimize any disruptions to our nation’s food supply chain as we combat the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

We encourage you to use all of your available authorities to maximize flexibility to guarantee USDA inspectors are available for on-site inspections and ensure that our processing facilities maintain current productivity levels. Additionally, we ask that you collaborate with industry partners in developing and releasing information to inform the public about USDA’s planned actions.

The animal protein supply chain for beef, pork and poultry functions requires consistency. Producers and markets are looking for any assurances that the USDA is taking proactive steps to mitigate any disruptions. Moreover, as some states take proactive steps to limit the spread of the virus, we strongly urge that all meat processing facilities be deemed “essential” operations.

In this time of need, we all must do what we can to maintain Americans access to a safe and abundant supply of protein. We appreciate USDA’s efforts to make arrangements to continue to "do right and feed everyone". The protein supply chain is a vital component of food security.

Again, we appreciate your leadership as we work together to address the impacts of COVID-19, and thank you for the many actions USDA and the Administration have already taken to minimize disruptions.

Respectfully,

 

 

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