Rep. Collin Peterson says U.S. is three weeks away from pork shortage


Speaking at a joint press conference that included Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz and Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen, U.S. Representative Collin Peterson, the Chair of the House Agriculture Committee, said grocery stores may not have pork on their shelves beginning in three weeks.

“We’re about three weeks away from not having any pork on the grocery shelves,” Rep. Peterson said. “It’s a national security issue. The U.S. has to have a food supply we can depend on. If we don’t have food, we’re going to have riots.”

The press conference took place in Worthington, home of a shuttered JBS processing plant where hundreds of workers have tested positive for COVID-19. The plant has begun euthanizing about 3,000 hogs a day, down from the estimated 13,000 the plant could handle. The company has 10-20 employees handling the process alongside federal and local veterinary officials.

Both Rep. Peterson and Gov. Walz said they want the JBS plant to reopen, but that will not happen until it is safe to do so.

“We want this plant open and processing hogs,” Walz said. “We do not want to kill hogs.”

Nationwide about 160,000 hogs will be euthanized daily, according to Peterson.

“We are so incredibly grateful for the producers,” Walz said. “We know you are in a tough spot. This is financially draining.”