Jun 10, 2020

USDA: Meatpacking facilities near full operation of 2019 capacity

Posted Jun 10, 2020 4:58 PM
Workers wearing protective clothing -Photo courtesy Tyson Foods
Workers wearing protective clothing -Photo courtesy Tyson Foods

WASHINGTON —U.S. meatpacking facilities are operating at more than 95 percent of average capacity when compared to 2019, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue applauded the data, attributing the operations to the safe reopening of the facilities.

USDA says beef facilities are operating at 98 percent, pork facilities are operating at 95 percent, and poultry facilities are operating at 98 percent of their capacity compared to the same time last year.

Secretary Perdue thanked the industry and its workers, for "quickly getting their operations back up and running." USDA says the facilities are safely resuming operations following an executive order by President Donald Trump to implement safety guidelines to protect workers from COVID-19.

The closures led to shortages at grocery stores and a backlog of animals ready to slaughter, creating depressed prices for farmers, yet higher prices for consumers. USDA says it will continue to work with safety officials to keep the facilities open while maintaining worker safety.