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COVID-19 highlights challenges in processing plants

Purdue University Ag Economist Jayson Lusk says now that meat processing plants are running at more than 90 percent capacity, the focus will be on building resiliency so processing disruptions don’t happen again.

“I think a common thought is that we need a larger number of more medium-sized food processing plants, particularly meat packing plants,” he says.

Lusk says that could help, but the problem wasn’t the size of plant it was the lack of excess capacity.

“What we needed was another plant we could go to that wasn’t running at full capacity to pick up the excess hogs and cattle that needed to be processed,” he says. “The real problem is excess capacity is expensive.”

Lusk made his comments during a recent Center for Food Integrity webinar.

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