Lawmakers are calling on the Trump administration to provide guidance on how the Federal Emergency Management Agency can help farmers depopulate and dispose of livestock following the closure of meatpacking plants due to coronavirus outbreaks.
“Even as plants begin to reopen, meat and poultry plants are expected to operate below maximum capacity for the foreseeable future in order to maintain appropriate public health and worker safety precautions meaning that, unfortunately, depopulation will continue,” wrote the lawmakers in a letter, pointing out that plant closures and backups have left producers with little to no alternative options.
In Minnesota, at least 10,000 pigs are being killed daily, said House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, D-Minn., who led the letter-writing campaign. Joining him on the letter were Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee chairman Jim Costa, D-Calif., and a group of lawmakers representing Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa and South Dakota.
The lawmakers request that the Trump administration allow for expenses related to livestock depopulation and disposal to be reimbursed under Category B of FEMA's Public Assistance program.
Read the letter here.