WORTHINGTON -- Following President Donald Trump’s signing of an executive order to keep meat processing plants in the midwest open, Minnesota leaders are working to safely reopen facilities in the state that have closed due to COVID-19 outbreaks.

Governor Tim Walz and 7th District Representative Collin Peterson held a news conference at the JBS plant in Worthington on Wednesday to announce the creation of a task force that will include members from the company, the union, and the governor’s office.

Walz says right now the 160,000 hogs being euthanized every day nationwide is creating a sense of urgency.

Nobody wants to talk about humanely depopulating the nation's hog supplies, but that's the position we're at. That's why that sense of urgency to get that plant up and running solves a lot of problems, again predicated on the safety of the workers.

Peterson says the goal is to get the plant open as soon as possible while taking precautions to keep the workers safe including continuing to temp and test workers, social distancing at worksites, and lowering production output.

JBS is currently looking to reopen their Sioux Falls, SD, and Waterloo, IA plants in addition to the one in Worthington.

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