Both the Iowa Pork Producers Association and the National Pork Producers Council have issued statements citing the critical need for packer operations in the food supply chain, after reports of COVID-19 cases at the Tyson Foods plant in Waterloo.
"This country's food supply chain is complex. It is vital to maintain this supply chain, especially those portions that operate in Iowa in order to provide food to Americans.
"The health of plant workers is very important, as is the health of other essential frontline workers in the food industry, such as those at grocery stores and warehouses. We need to both protect this work force and keep feeding our state and country.
"The Iowa Pork Producers Association has confidence that our food supply chain partners are up to the challenge of prioritizing worker safety while maintaining plant operations. The Tyson plant in Waterloo is critical to the work of many family pork producers. Closing it will create significant hardship for rural northeast Iowa farmers, and that hardship will spread to farmers in other parts of the state and all the related businesses that keep them operational."
Statement of support for plants from the National Pork Producers Council
"COVID-related plant disruptions have reduced harvest capacity and caused a back-up of hogs on our farms," says Neil Dierks, CEO of the NPPC.
"As a result, hog values have plunged, creating a financial crisis across the pork production sector and creating an animal welfare challenge for pig farmers.
"We recognize worker safety is paramount, but it's imperative that we maintain and increase harvest capacity for hogs. We have asked for assistance for producers, but we are faced with a dire situation today. We recognize the role the entire pork chain plays in supplying consumers with safe, nutritious pork products."