U.S. Cattlemen’s Association asks FMCSA for relief following JBS attack

June 3, 2021

Mark Schremmer

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In response to a cybersecurity attack on the world’s largest meat supplier, the U.S. Cattlemen’s Association is asking for the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to provide emergency regulatory flexibility.

On May 31, JBS USA announced that it had been the target of an organized cybersecurity attack. According to The New York Times, the attack forced the shutdown of nine beef processing plants in the United States and disrupted production at poultry and pork plants.

The Cattlemen’s Association on Wednesday, June 2, wrote to Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg to inform the department about how the attack will affect the supply chain and to request regulatory relief for those hauling animals and meat products.

“JBS’s five biggest beef plants in the U.S. process an average of 22,500 cattle a day, or nearly a fifth of America’s production,” the group wrote. “This delay will create a major supply chain disruption, impacting both producers of livestock and consumers of meat at a time when the market is still recovering from the shock of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Regulatory relief?

Asking for regulatory relief, the Cattlemen’s Association pointed to FMCSA’s hours-of-service exemption following a cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline Co.

“After reviewing reports from our members regarding the impact of the JBS outage, USCA strongly believes this event warrants immediate regulatory action to ensure grocery store shelves stay stocked of fresh meat products. We respectfully request the FMCSA provide emergency regulatory flexibility for motor carriers and drivers hauling both live animals and meat products.”

JBS issued a news release on June 2 saying that it planned to resume production at all of their facilities on Thursday, June 3.

“JBS USA and Pilgrim’s continue to make significant progress in restoring our IT systems and returning to business as usual,” said JBS USA CEO Andre Nogueira. “Given the progress our teams have made to address this situation, we anticipate operating at close to full capacity across our global operations (Thursday).”

The company also said that it wasn’t aware of any evidence of any customer, supplier, or employee data being compromised. LL

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Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.