Rounds agrees with executive order to keep processing facilities open

WASHINGTON, D.C. (DRG News) – United States President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order this week (Tues.) to keep meat and poultry processing facilities open during the COVID-19 national emergency—a move South Dakota Senator Mike Rounds agrees with.

Rounds says the federal assistance also provides direct support to the line workers in the plants.

Rounds is also asking federal agencies to come up with a plan to assist producers in humanely euthanizing livestock as the industry works to rebuild the processing plant capacity.

Under the Executive Order and the authority of the Defense Production Act, the US Department of Agriculture will work with meat processing companies to affirm they will operate in accordance with CDC and OSHA guidance. The Order also requires the companies to work with state and local officials to ensure these plants are implementing practices to keep employees safe while providing the meat protein Americans want and need.

Employees of the Smithfield Foods pork processing plant in Sioux Falls and their close contacts combine for nearly half of the 2373 positive cases reported in South Dakota so far.

The South Dakota Department of Health provides COVID-19 case data broken down by age, sex, race/ethnicity and county of residence on the website.