Livestock producers trying to buy time amid meat processing plant closures

Local News

Livestock producers are trying to buy themselves some time as they wait for some meat processing plants in the region to re-open.

Adam Krause is in charge of taking care of the pigs at his nursery barn near Clear Lake.

That doesn’t change during a pandemic.

“The world still goes crazy, but each and every day I still get up to check on my pigs and go to work,” contract grower Adam Krause said.

But other parts of the livestock industry have become much more difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The owner of the pigs, Laron Krause, says he’d normally be selling eight loads of pigs this week.

Instead, he’s down to just two.

That means he has to get creative.

“The pigs that leave this barn will go to a finishing barn, so they’ll be smaller in those finishing barns yet so some of those barns we’re double stocking to try to buy time. We’re filling an older facility today with some pigs that we haven’t used for a while. We’re changing our diets trying to slow down the growth rate of some of our bigger pigs,” Supreme Pork Co-Owner Laron Krause said.

South Dakota’s U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson visited the nursery barn Tuesday.

“Getting this protein to people’s plates this takes a lot of smart people working really hard when you get this kind of trouble in the process it impacts millions of Americans,” Rep. Dusty Johnson said.

“This is all about everybody. It’s very critical that Smithfield and all the other ones get moving along, but we need to figure out how to keep workers safe,” Laron Krause said.

Until then there’s still a job to do.

“That’s something that Americans and South Dakotans can count on is farmers are going to keep on pushing on and going forward regardless of our situation,” Adam Krause said.

Representative Johnson says the day that plants, including Smithfield, can open up safely cannot come soon enough for producers.

“Smithfield clearly has some work to do. We clearly want that brought online quickly, but we don’t want it bought on before it’s safe. I’ve reviewed the CDC recommendations. A lot of them make a ton of sense, but this is a 111-year-old plant and so some of the suggestions that make sense in the report are going to be harder to execute than most people realize,” Rep. Johnson said.

Johnson says he talks with Smithfield every couple of days.

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