November 28, 2023
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Brad Finstad (MN-01) applauded the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) announcement that the Time-Limited Trial for New Swine Inspection System (NSIS) plants will be extended for an additional 90 days, providing certainty for our pork industry and ensuring participating plants can continue operating at increased line speeds.
The announcement comes after Congressman Finstad and Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) led a bicameral group of 18 Members of Congress on November 2, 2023, in sending a letter to USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack, urging the agency to immediately issue an extension of the Time-Limited Trial for the six NSIS pork processing plants.
“Since the Time-Limited Trial began, participating pork processing facilities have demonstrated that increased line speeds are safe and effective,” said Rep. Finstad. “While today’s announcement is welcome news, I will continue to urge USDA to provide certainty to our pork processors and producers by permanently allowing them to continue functioning at full operational capacity, which is why I was proud to introduce legislation earlier this year that would authorize increased line speeds outside of short-term trial periods.”
“Iowa’s pork producers, who lead the nation in pork production, depend on certainty and consistency in the pork supply chain. While USDA’s New Swine Inspection System trial has proved to be safe and effective at swiftly processing hogs, a short three-month extension of the expiring program does little to help producers, who often contract with processors many months in advance. While I’m pleased that USDA has taken a step in the right direction by extending the program, the agency risks creating a harmful bottleneck in the pork supply chain if it fails to extend the program beyond just three months,” said Sen. Grassley.
"While I welcome today’s announcement of a short-term extension, I remain concerned that the Biden Administration’s actions on pork processing line speeds only removes the certainty that the nation’s producers, processors, and consumers deserve," said House Agriculture Committee Chairman, Glenn "G.T." Thompson. "As USDA moves toward a more permanent solution, it is my hope the department operates with transparency to ensure our pork processing facilities can maintain full operational capacity and protect our nation’s food supply."
On February 28, 2023, Congressman Finstad and Senator Grassley led a bicameral group of 11 Members of Congress in sending a letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack, urging USDA to immediately issue an extension of the Time-Limited Trial for six pork processing plants in the New Swine Inspection System (NSIS).
Following the letter, the USDA announced on March 3 that they would extend the Time-Limited Trial at NSIS plants for an additional seven months, allowing participating plants to operate at increased line speeds until November 30, 2023.
On July 28, 2023, Congressman Finstad introduced the Meat and Poultry Processing Efficiency Act, which would permanently authorize USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) Time-Limited Trial for meat and poultry processing facilities.