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Closings, Cancellations and Delays

Abigail Dollins, AP

Processing plants euthanizing pigs


Mark Russo, KELO - April 30, 2020

WORTHINGTON, MN - The big JBS pork processing plant in Worthington was partially re-opened, but for a terrible purpose.

Minnesota Agriculture Secretary Thom Peterson says the plant is euthanizing pigs that have been backing up at farms and feedlots because of plant closures.

It's unclear when the plant will fully re-open.

"We're still a little bit aways away from getting that plant back up and running. They are running a kill operation there for some of our farmers who, unfortunately, have to depopulate their farms," Peterson tells KELO Radio's It's Your Business Show with Bill Zortman.

Peterson says 500 workers at the Worthington plant have tested positive for COVID-19. He says all the workers are being tested. 

U.S. Senator Mike Rounds (R-SD) predicts that around 1 million hogs may still have to be euthanized despite President Trump's order to keep processing plants open.

"The scale of this on-farm and on-ranch tragedy will be written in history books, probably, as a failure of epic proportions."

The Smithfield plant in Sioux Falls remains closed, but Rounds says maybe it could partially re-open to help euthanize hogs.

No word yet from Smithfield on when the plant will re-open.

“We received the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report last Thursday, April 23 pertaining to our Sioux Falls, SD facility, which is closed indefinitely," says Smithfield Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs, Keira Lombardo, "We will thoroughly and carefully examine the report point by point and respond in full once our assessment is complete.”



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