Left unchallenged, a recent federal district court ruling will result in a 2.5 percent loss in pork packing plant capacity nationwide, according to the National Pork Producers Council. NPPC says the ruling would reduce income by more than $80 million for small U.S. hog farmers. NPPC is urging the Department of Agriculture to intervene before the ruling takes effect at the end of next month. The federal court’s decision struck down a provision of USDA’s New Swine Inspection System allowing for faster harvest facility line speeds.
NPPC says the court’s ruling will have the opposite effect sought by those seeking to expand the number of meatpacking plant facilities. Lawmakers have recently called for increasing the number of pork processing facilities nationwide by bringing smaller state plants up to federal inspection standards. NPPC President Jen Sorenson says, “With the stroke of a judge’s pen, the lives of many hog farmers will be upended if this misguided ruling takes effect.”