New deadline given to swine companies regarding line speeds
by Denise Faguy
November 30, 2023, is the new deadline given to swine facilities to be able to operate at increased line speeds says the USDA.
In a statement issued by the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) it says it, “applauds USDA’s decision to allow eligible pork harvest facilities to continue experimenting with ergonomics, automation, and crewing while maintaining line speeds that have been proven able to protect food and worker safety for over two decades.”
The NPPC statement continued by saying, “Ensuring sufficient harvest capacity is critical to allow America’s pork producers to continue to provide wholesome pork products to consumers. This extension will allow USDA to assess a final report of the data collected during the time-limited trial and determine next steps. NPPC appreciates the extension of the trial period and will continue working with the administration and Congress towards a permanent solution.”
The line speed issue began in Minnesota in March 2021, when a U.S. District Court struck down a swine inspection system rule relating to line speeds, essentially it meant that six NSIS packing plants had to reduce the line speeds at their plants to 1,106 head per hour.
According to NPPC, this has reduced pork-producing capacity in the United States by 2.5%.
Elected representatives from several pork producing states had recently sent a letter to Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack pushing for action on the issue.