News

FALSE: Rumors of Destroyed Crops and Livestock

May 4, 2020

May 1, 2020

Dear State Representative:

I am writing you today to address the recent stories of farmers and ranchers dumping crops and euthanizing livestock. The Texas Department of Agriculture is aware of these issues and the spread of misinformation. The purpose of this letter is to keep you informed of what is happening in the agriculture industry during this pandemic and to assure you there is no major disruption or shortage within the Texas food supply chain.

One poultry plant in East Texas is temporarily closed due to the specialty product they supply. The main market for that plant was to sell to premium cuts to restaurants, which have been closed for about a month. We have seen labor shortages across the nation in packing plants that can be attributed to cutting back on operational hours, staff concerns on getting COVID-19, and facilities shutting down to perform cleanings or modifications.

TDA has heard claims that the government told people to “liquidate their crops and livestock”. This is simply untrue. The federal government has stated that they would compensate farmers and ranchers if they had to liquidate their crops and livestock. TDA is not dictating or paying people to kill animals or plow under crops.

In a couple of the areas in the U.S. there have been a small number of slaughter facilities that have humanely euthanized swine and poultry due to the inability to process them in a timely manner. It’s important to understand that slaughter facilities are not equipped to feed animals for a prolonged period of time once they arrive. Most animals that are shipped in, are slaughtered within 24 hours of their arrival. This facility was unable to return the animals because the farms and feeding pens had already replaced these animals and could not take any more. The slaughter facility was faced with the decision to either let the animals starve, or humanely euthanize them.

We hope this information will help clear up any concerns you and your constituents may have. TDA would like to emphasize that there is no disruption in the food supply chain. If you have any questions or concerns, or need clarification on the information above, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Sincerely,

Sid Miller

Texas Department of Agriculture

Commissioner