Line speed ruling would have long-term impact on the pork industry


Line speed ruling would have long-term impact on the pork industry

The National Pork Producers Council is urging the administration to halt a recent order that would reduce the line speed at pork processing plants.  NPPC says the ruling, set to go into effect on June 29, 2021, would cause a 2.5% decrease in pork processing capacity. 

University of Missouri livestock economist Scott Brown says the impact of slowing line speed likely wouldn’t be felt by producers this year.

However… “at some point we’re going to build sow inventory back and maybe the prices we have today will make us do that by the time we get to the fourth quarter of 2022,” he says.

He tells Brownfield the moment when the pork industry is short shackle space, it will be too late.

“If that day of reckoning comes it may be postponed until 2022 or 2023,” he says. “I still see the bottleneck of processing being an issue for the hog industry as we look ahead.”

Ag economists Dr. Steve Meyer of Partners for Production Agriculture and Dr. Barry Goodwin of North Carolina State University say the ruling would reduce competition and likely lead to increased market concentration in the pork industry. 

Beginning June 30, 2021, all processing facilities operating under the New Swine Inspection System will revert to a maximum line speed of 1,106 head per hour. 

The USDA has until the end of August 2021 to appeal the decision.