Worthington pork plant begins euthanizing hogs

Local News

A pork production plant in southwest Minnesota has announced a limited re-opening, but not for reasons you may think.

JBS in Worthington has started euthanizing hogs to assist producers who have nowhere to take the animals.

JBS says about 10 to 20 workers are facilitating what it calls a “humane euthanasia option” for market hogs.

Minnesota U.S. Representative and House Ag Committee Chair Collin Peterson says he asked JBS to put the system in place.

“We do not want to kill hogs. We want the plant open and working, but if it’s not going to be working then we’ve got to figure out some way to deal with the excess hogs that we’ve got in the area,” Rep. Collin Peterson said.

Congressman Peterson says he talked with the U.S. ag secretary Wednesday morning.

“Their number one priority is to open up this plant, the plant in Sioux Falls, and the plant in Waterloo,” Rep. Peterson said.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz says worker safety is critical.

“No executive order I do or the president does is going to change the fact that that virus will infect you if we don’t do things right. And no executive order is going to get those hogs processed if the people who know how to do it are sick or do not feel like we can be there,” Gov. Tim Walz said.

The representative didn’t give a timeline of when the plant would open, but he says a task force is being organized to help figure out how to do it.

“The day this plant is going to get open is when the workers are going to be safe and we have an environment that we can count on,” Peterson said.

JBS is located in Nobles County, which has reported more than 600 positive COVID-19 cases so far.

It’s the second highest in the state.

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