RAPID CITY, S.D. — Agriculture producers are hoping to see changes in the industry as years long problems were put under the spotlight during the COVID-19 pandemic.
President Joe Biden signed an executive order Friday targeting some issues like broadening competition and labeling.
Producers are now playing the waiting game to see what happens next.
“We never really know if it’s going to be a fix, it’s ‘what are the consequences of these actions’ and so we really need to wait until we find some details out and see exactly how this is going to affect us before we can make up our mind if this is a good thing or a bad thing,” said Eric Jennings, the President of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association.
Other producers expressed their support for transparency of the United States Department of Agriculture label issue.
Continuing their stance making sure the label represents beef that was born, bred, and processed right here.
“Hopefully throughout this order, they will be able to right that and that we will actually get a truth in labeling component to this, where if at least if a product is marked product of the U.S.A., that we can know that it was born, raised, and harvested right here in the United States,” said James Halverson, the Executive Director of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association.
A total $650 million from USDA COVID funds will go towards processing plants in the U.S. – $500 million for new construction of packing plants, and $150 million for enhancing smaller and medium sized packing companies.
“This made resources available to small processors,” said Rep. Dusty Johnson. “It reduced their regulatory burden and it let them get bigger, giving them an opportunity to participate in this marketplace. The president has agreed with that push and he put real money, real cash on the barrel-head to get that done”
Though the order calls for changes, it’s now up to the agencies to take the next step.