The Role of State-inspected Slaughter in the U.S. Pork Supply Chain: Survey and Analysis

Holly Cook
June 2021  [21-PB 34]

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Suggested citation:

Cook, H. 2021. "The Role of State-inspected Slaughter in the U.S. Pork Supply Chain: Survey and Analysis." Policy brief 21-PB 34. Center for Agricultural and Rural Development, Iowa State University.

Executive Summary

The COVID-19 pandemic and other capacity-restricting events have motivated state and federal governments to invest over $100 million in grants for state-inspected meat processing plants. This paper evaluates the role of state-inspected plants and analyzes survey data from state-inspected plants and officials. The results of the survey indicate that most state-inspected plants are "small" or "very small," which is reflected in their production levels. Non-federally inspected slaughter totals, which include both state-inspected and custom-exempt processing, accounted for just 0.6 percent of all U.S. hog slaughter in 2020 and less than 0.5 percent in top-hog-producing states. For the ten states that reported totals, state-inspected hog slaughter accounted for 45 percent of all non-federally inspected slaughter and just 0.2 percent of total hog slaughter in 2020. Although these plants are small, they were able to increase production and provide additional local slaughter capacity during COVID-19 shutdowns. From 2019 to 2020, non-federally inspected slaughter totals increased by 11.2 percent after years of decline. Over this same period, 47 state-inspected survey respondents indicated that their annual slaughter totals increased by 25.4 percent on average. Funding from the CARES Act and other pandemic relief sources likely supported this effort.