As several of the largest meat production plants in the U.S. have been forced to close, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, President Donald Trump has issued an executive order to open them.
Using the Defense Production Act (DPA), the President signed the executive order which designates meat production plants as critical infrastructure. The President wrote in the order, “It is important that processors of beef, pork, and poultry (“meat and poultry”) in the food supply chain continue operating and fulfilling orders to ensure a continued supply of protein for Americans. However, outbreaks of COVID-19 among workers at some processing facilities have led to the reduction in some of those facilities’ production capacity.”
The executive order was issued after a dire warning from Tyson Foods’ CEO, John Tyson, who said, “the food supply chain is breaking”, as meat production slows. He also said millions of pounds of meat will disappear from the supply chain as plants temporarily close.
Mississippi Commissioner of Agriculture, Andy Gipson, says “I appreciate President Trump’s action to do whatever it takes to keep our meat plants operating nationwide.”
“We’ve been closely following the COVID outbreaks among various meat plant workers in other States, although we have not seen these kinds of major issues or closures in Mississippi meat plants”, said Gipson. “It is true the plant closures in other parts of the country could impact processed pork and possibly beef supply in the short term, but we are not at risk of running out of meat. Do not hoard or panic-buy.”
Gipson said, “What is absolutely clear to me is we need more local beef and pork processing capacity in Mississippi. That is why I will soon announce our own State plan to remove regulations, free up local markets, provide more access to local food and meat products, and increase processing capacity in Mississippi. These initiatives will help meet growing local demand at the same time as opening more markets for Mississippi farmers and cattlemen.”
Gipson says during this time, he encourages Mississippians to buy local and buy Genuine Mississippi.