Today, Congressman Jim Hagedorn (MN-01) released the following statement on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) decision to allow pork processing plants, including Quality Pork Processing in Austin, MN, to increase line speeds for 12 months.
This comes after Congressman Jim Hagedorn (MN-01), Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Congressman Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.) sent letters to Agriculture Secretary Thomas Vilsack and Acting Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar urging the Administration to pursue all legal actions in a recent U.S. district court case that slowed swine inspection line speeds down earlier this year.
"While I am pleased that USDA is allowing some pork processing plants to run at faster speeds, this decision is coming four-and-a-half months too late. Processing facilities slowed their lines due to inaction by the Biden Administration, only to be allowed to increase speeds again. This never had to happen, and the uncertainty impacts the bottom lines of producers and processors, causing major complications and contributing to the country's ongoing supply chain crisis.
"I was proud to lead over 70 bicameral Members of Congress alongside Senator Grassley and Congressman Dusty Johnson in a letter to Secretary Vilsack back in June urging him to take any actions necessary to bring back higher line speeds. That letter has yet to receive a response because USDA will not admit they were wrong in not recommending an appeal to the Solicitor General. Producers have had a hard enough year, and this unnecessary disruption in processing has only set them back. While it is encouraging that USDA has allowed for quicker line speeds, the 12-month trial program should be open to all pork processing facilities who want to increase their line speeds and help reduce market pressures."