A Federal District Court ruling overturning the faster harvesting facility inspection speeds allowed by the United States Department of Agriculture’s New Pig Inspection System (NSIS) has come into effect. The Biden administration has until the end of August to appeal.
The National Council of Pork Producers (NPPC) urges the administration to appeal this decision – which could lead to increased concentration of the pork industry and market power of packers – and calls for exemptions for the factories concerned until that a longer term solution, acceptable to all industry players, is achieved.
The move cuts 2.5% of the capacity of pork packing plants nationwide and will result in a cut in revenue of $ 80 million for small American hog producers this year alone, according to economist analysis from Iowa State University, Dr. Dermot Hayes. Last week, more than 70 lawmakers sent letters asking Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Acting Solicitor General Prelogar to appeal the court ruling.
“While we are disappointed that the Biden administration has not appealed the court ruling, there is still time for the government to act by appealing the ruling and granting waivers that allow the six factories affected. to continue operating at the speed of the NSIS line until a new rule can be developed, ”said NPPC President Jen Sorenson, director of communications for Iowa Select Farms in West Des Moines, Iowa. “The NPPC continues to urge the administration to appeal before the ruling inflicts irreversible damage to small-scale pig farmers and seismic changes across our industry.”
The NSIS, launched under the Clinton administration and evaluated in five pilot plants over 20 years, was approved for industry-wide adoption in 2019. The NSIS modernized an inspection system that had remained unchanged for over 50 years old. Ironically, at a time when the United States seeks to increase pork harvesting capacity, the court order will reduce the capacity of the six factories operating at NSIS line speed by up to 25% and will prevent other factories to increase harvesting capacity. The original five factories, which operated at the speed of NSIS inspection lines for the duration of the program, have been operating safely for more than 20 years.