Rorvig: President did right thing to keep meat processing facilities open

Cow-calf producer Dan Rorvig said these times are “ugly” for those in the business of raising livestock.

The coronavirus, also known as COVID-19, has disrupted the lives of Americans including livestock producers across the country.

On April 28, President Trump signed an executive order that allows processors of beef, pork and poultry to continue operating and fulfilling orders “to ensure a continued supply of protein for Americans.”

The order states any unnecessary closure “can quickly have a large effect on the food supply chain.”

The order also notes that under the delegation of authority provided in the order, the secretary of agriculture “shall take all appropriate action under that section to ensure that meat and poultry processors continue operations consistent with the guidance for their operations jointly issued by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control) and OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration).

The North Dakota Stockmen’s Association has gone on record applauding President Donald Trump’s action on April 28 to help keep meat processing facilities open, the food supply chain intact and beef available to consumers.

“It’s an important development both for livestock producers and consumers. That’s because there have been growing supply chain disruptions due to plant closures and reductions in processing at many beef processing plants across the country. This has exacerbated the damage inflicted upon many cattle producers who are unable to get cattle sold, shipped or processed. Other animal protein sectors are experiencing similar problems in their respective industries,” said NDSA officials on its website.

Rorvig, of McVille, who has been president of the North Dakota Stockmen’s Association for about the past year and a half, said on May 1, “I’m grateful for President Trump for providing this executive order. It shows he understand the importance of the industry.”

Rorvig said it also shows the president understands how important it is “in keeping the entire pipeline full for the entire public.”

North Dakota’s U.S. senators responded to the executive order:

Sen. John Hoeven, chairman of the Senate Agriculture Appropriations Committee, issued the following statement after President Donald Trump invoked the Defense Production Act (DPA) to ensure the continued operation of meat packing plants, consistent with recently issued safety guidelines, as essential infrastructure for the nation. Hoeven has been working with the administration and his colleagues to maintain the nation’s food supply chain.

“The President invoked the DPA to help minimize disruptions in the food supply chain,” said Hoeven. “This action underscores the vital service of all those who work to ensure access to our nation’s high-quality food supply. From our farmers and ranchers to food processing plant workers, truck drivers and grocery store clerks, we are grateful for all of their hard work to put food on American tables. By keeping these plants operating safely, we are benefiting both consumers and producers, while also taking important steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In our efforts with the Administration and industry, we have prioritized access to personal protective equipment, testing, and social distancing guidelines to maintain a safe work environment while meeting this essential need for our nation.”

Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) issued the following statement:

“The United States must maintain a robust food supply chain, without sacrificing the safety and health of workers or consumers, if we are going to make it through COVID-19. I applaud President Trump for taking further action to support this critical part of our nation’s infrastructure and keep food on the shelves for the American people.”

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will also work with state and local officials to ensure the plants are allowed to operate.


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