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View from the Cab: Thanking heroes

Thanks to all of the food production workers and countless others who keep things going during these times.

Without the efforts of those we now refer to as heroes, farmers would not have a market for their animals meaning consumers would have fewer choices at the local grocery store.

Information released by the Illinois Pork Producers Association last week noted the government and packing plants are taking steps to ensure employees stay safe and healthy. Protecting employee health and getting pork to consumers remains a priority which is why plants have access to PPE.

IPPA reports all Illinois packing plants are open and operating at almost 77 percent. This new normal means plants are taking precautions to address employee health concerns and labor shortages in order to return plants to full operation. Both the FDA and CDC remind consumers there is no evidence to support transmission of COVID-19 through food or packaging. Food is also inspected by USDA.

“Everyone in the supply chain is committed to meeting consumer demand for pork and doing what they can to return to more normal operations,” said a statement from the National Pork Board. “Our nation’s pork farmers need and want to get their pigs to market so they can continue delivering pork to consumers.”

With an uptick in demand and limitations at packing plants, retailers have had a difficult time keeping up. COVID-19 has significantly disrupted the pork market and the logistics involved with safely moving products from farm to fork.

A packing plant shutdown means everything is pushed back, such as deliveries to restaurants and grocery stores. Also, sales from eating out are down more than 60percent due to restaurant and food service shutdowns across the country this year.

“Farmers do not want to lose these pigs and are very grateful for the packers, processors and customers,” stated the IPPA.

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