COVID caused disruptions in the food supply chain this year. Minnesota Agriculture Commissioner Thom Petersen says Minnesota’s processing industry was hit harder than any other state in the country. “More than 30 percent of Minnesota’s pigs go to the Smithfield plant that closed first in South Dakota and was down for more than one month. Then, the JBS plant closed, leaving thousands of hogs with nowhere to go. We estimate several hundred thousand pigs were depopulated in Minnesota and another 150,000 pigs were given away. You throw on top that millions of chickens and thousands of turkeys, it created a perfect storm in Minnesota.” Going into winter, there’s an uptick in COVID cases. “Some plants have slowed down lines up to 10 percent. We hope we don’t have to deal with what we happened last spring; it will be an interesting time.” Petersen was part of the Minnesota Farmers Union Convention on Saturday.
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