The Minnesota Democrat who chairs the House Ag Committee says he will “personally see to it” that the ag industry doesn’t suffer from a national emergency like COVID-19 again. “I can tell you as chairman of the ag committee that this is not going to happen again on my watch,” Peterson said during a press conference in Worthington, Minnesota.
The press conference dealt with how pork producers are being hurt by the pandemic. Peterson has formed a local task force to help pork producers deal with a massive backup of hogs caused by recent closures of meat processing plants. Before President Trump issued an executive order to keep the plants open, Peterson had struck a deal with a shuttered JBS plant in Minnesota to have its workers ease the burden by euthanizing up to 13,000 hogs daily.
With fewer places to send animals ready for slaughter, farmers are having to euthanize the animals themselves, which Peterson says is a nearly impossible task. Peterson also said Ag Secretary Sonny Perdue floated the idea of having the federal government cover the costs of depopulating hogs if the backlog remains a problem.