Commissioner: Plant Closures Result in Euthanizing Hogs, Chickens
ST. PAUL -- State leaders are focused on keeping Minnesota's food processing plants open during the COVID-19 pandemic. So far there have been confirmed cases at JBS in Worthington, Jennie-O in Willmar and Melrose, and Pilgrim's Pride in Cold Spring.
Meanwhile, Agriculture Commissioner Thom Peterson says a smaller pork plant is back up and running after a temporary shut down last week. He says they are working on building out the capacity to process meat at several smaller plants to keep up with demand, however, there will still likely be a surplus of live animals.
There just simply will be too many animals, hogs and chickens, to handle despite our efforts and we will be needing to euthanize some animals.
Peterson says between the Smithfield and JBS plants they took more than 50 percent of the state's hogs for processing, which is between 100,000 and 200,000 hogs a week. He says they also had to euthanize some chickens already last week.
This will all likely have an impact on you at the grocery store.
Our consumers will see some disruptions and they may see some higher prices, that will become more pronounced depending on how long we're in this situation with COVID-19.
The Minnesota Department of Health says they've also begun to reach out to the state's vegetable canning plants as they start to get into their busy seasons.