Pork producers applaud line speed extension

The National Pork Producers Council is applauding the recent announcement that the USDA is extending a pilot program that allows processing plants to run at increased line speeds. 

Duane Stateler, an Ohio producer and president-elect of NPPC, tells Brownfield…

“I’m glad they got the line speed sort of taken care of temporarily.”  He says, “We got a year extension on it so they can do a better study. I think USDA and FSIS has done a good job of putting together a study that will give them good results. You know, that will show that the safety is there.”

Lori Stevermer, NPPC president and a Minnesota producer, says the industry has adapted to the higher speeds…

“You know, if those plants would have to go back to the regular speed, Dr. Steve Meyer estimated we’d lose about 2 1/2% of our packing capacity.”  She says, “So, you know, in times when we have a large number of pigs coming to market, having that additional speed is helpful.”

Stateler says any potential reduction needs to occur with plenty of notice…

“For our industry, we’re almost 10 months out, that pig is already in the production cycle.”  He says, “So when you do something, anything less than 10 months, you’ve got a backup somewhere and that creates angst on the industry.”

The pilot program will continue through January 15th, 2025.

Over the past year six pork processors have been operating plants faster than the regulated 1,106 head per hour as part of the program.  USDA says the study is looking at increasing productivity and protecting food safety while decreasing the probability of worker injuries.

AUDIO: Duane Stateler, president-elect of NPPC

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