In a bipartisan letter to President Donald Trump Friday, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson of Minnesota urged the Administration to provide guidance on how the Federal Emergency Management Agency can help farmers depopulate and dispose of livestock following the closure of meatpacking plants due to coronavirus outbreaks and worker safety concerns. Joining Peterson on the letter is House Agriculture Livestock and Foreign Agriculture Subcommittee Chairman Jim Costa of California, and a group of lawmakers representing Minnesota, Illinois, Iowa and South Dakota.
“Even as plants begin to reopen, meat and poultry plants are expected to operate below maximum capacity for the foreseeable future in order to maintain appropriate public health and worker safety precautions meaning that, unfortunately, depopulation will continue,” wrote the lawmakers in the letter, pointing out that plant closures and backups have left producers with little to no alternative options.
Specifically, the lawmakers request that the Administration allow for expenses related to livestock depopulation and disposal to be reimbursed under Category B of FEMA’s Public Assistance program.
A copy of the letter is available here.