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Economic harm of hog farms lost during pandemic

Difficult economic conditions ahead of and during the COVID-19 pandemic will likely result in the loss of hog farms.

Extension researchers at the University of Minnesota say if 15 percent of hog operations in the state folded, the result would be losses of $660 million and 2,100 jobs.

Minnesota Pork CEO David Preisler tells Brownfield the projections factor in the state’s unemployment rate.

“That’s why it’s really important that we’re continuing to work to get pork plants open, and continuing to get product to move. And try and work through the backlog of pigs that we have out there today.”

Pork processors are operational, and nationally Preisler estimates the system is running at about 80 percent of capacity.

“Operating at 80 percent, while it sounds really good, still results in an increased level week after week of backing pigs up. So we need to get to something that’s well over 90 percent.”

Preisler says once packing plants are at that point, the pork industry will at least have a chance to work through a portion of the backlog.

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