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Iowa pork producer struggling through pandemic

An Iowa pork producer says finding enough shackle space for his market hogs remains a problem.

Bob Hemesath of Decorah tells Brownfield the packing plant closures related to COVID-19 backed his farm up a couple of weeks.

“And we’re still behind, but we’ve been fortunate. We’ve gotten enough out, we’ve been double-filling some barns. It’s not the perfect situation, but it’s better than the alternatives.”

Hemesath has not had to euthanize any hogs, but says he did make changes to rations.

“They get heavier, and you know a pig wants to keep growing. So it’s been a struggle, and of course the price collapsed because of COVID-19 and all the ramifications of that I guess.”

According to the latest figures from the USDA, pork slaughter has returned to more than 90 percent of capacity.

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