My farm, Martin Family Farms, sells pigs to a processing facility that utilizes the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s New Swine Inspection System (NSIS), which allows for pork processing facilities to operate at a faster rate. NSIS, initiated during the Clinton administration and evaluated at five pilot plants over 20 years, was approved for industry-wide adoption in 2019. Even with this two-decade track record, a federal court recently struck down an NSIS provision that could result in a 2.5 percent loss in nationwide packing capacity unless USDA challenges this decision.
Since my farm markets pigs to one of the plants that were operating under the new system for increased speeds, we will be disproportionately affected. The plant we sell to will need to decrease the number of pigs they accept which will create a backup of animals on the farm. This change could put us in a place where we don’t know where our pigs will be processed in the future or how much we will be able to sell them for.