In the fall of 2023, Jennifer Hardin, Kentucky Association of Meat Processors, wrote the blog post, (linked below) EPA Threatens the Poultry and Meat Processing Industry with New Regulations of Wastewater. We also did a VIP Access Event for our members that highlighted the purposed regulation changes for meat processors. (Members can access the webinar in their KSGDO accounts.)
Essentially, the EPA regulation changes have the potential to close the majority of all meat processors across the country, except big box stores like Kroger, Wal-Mart, Sams, etc. The regulation has been proposed due to animal welfare groups suing the EPA for not complying to rules made in the original WOTUS many years ago. The welfare groups claim they have undeniable science proving that meat processing plants are contributing an outrageous amount of phosphates into the water supply causing algae blooms and killing aquatic life. To date, we have not been able to get those reports.
At any rate, the EPA has finally posted the regulation change options on the Federal Register. You can read the full proposal here. In the posting, the EPA gives three options for levels of regulation implementation. Each option is based on the number of pounds of meat processed and/or live animal poundage that runs through each meat processing floor. The best option is Option 1, which would impact the least amount of meat processors in KY (we estimate only 2-3 instead of all of them if the EPA chooses Option 3).
But, the EPA needs to know that we as livestock producers and meat consumers know that Option 1 is the best. This is where you come in...
We are asking all producers to comment on the regulation options from your perspective as a livestock producer, direct marketer, and/or consumer. There is no canned verbiage to copy and paste because we feel that the more authentic the comments, the more the EPA will realize just how much this impacts all of us.
However, to help you create your argument, here are some points to keep in mind:
Encourage the EPA to select their Option 1 for the proposed rule. This option has the least impacts on KY meat and poultry processors.
You can discuss the negative impacts on the livestock industry as these regulations could force the closure of facilities all across the country. Producers would lose their ability to have as many options for processing. Prices paid to them would most likely decrease.
There would be economic impacts for consumers. They would lose their local butchers and retail prices would rise.
These regulations would shirt water treatment to the hands of people who have no knowledge of the systems or processes. They operate meat processing facilities, not water treatment plants so therefore, most would have very little knowledge of these systems.
Direct marketers could lose their business with no locations to process meat.
All the millions of dollars spent on meat processing infrastructure post Covid would be wasted.
Livestock producers could lose their farms as the limited processing infrastructure would not be able to handle the enormous amount of animals available for processing, which in turn will hurt the crop producers as there will be less need for corn and soybeans since livestock are the major consumers of these crops.
Submit your Comments
1) Go to this link
2) Click the green button:
"Submit a Formal Comment"
3) Post your comment
Comment period closes March 25th so... comment often!
Spread the Word!
We need A LOT of people to comment.
Here are ways you can tell people:
1) Send them a link to the blog post.
2) Share this fact sheet.
3) Post on social media using the images below.
Get Caught Up on the Topic
Re-Visit the HoofPrint blog post from October 6, 2023 by Jennifer Hardin.