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NPPC wants additional financial relief for hog farmers

The National Pork Producers Council wants the Senate to take quick action to provide additional financial relief for pork producers.

Nick Giordano, vice president, and counsel, global government affairs, with NPPC says pork producers need an aid package that is in the billions of dollars.  “Current losses are $60 to $70 per animal,” he says.  “And then when you think about an animal that can’t make it into the food chain.  That’s why they’re being euthanized in spite of everything farmers are trying to do.  It’s a lot of money.”

Illinois pork producer Chad Leman says while the bottlenecks in the supply chain are improving, it isn’t happening quick enough, and producers need assistance to make it through these challenging times.  “We’re currently backed up just over 4,000 pigs in the last couple of months,” he says.  “And both of the packers that we work with are currently at about 75 percent capacity.”

NPPC president AV Roth of Wisconsin says farmers are appreciative of the first round of aid provided through CFAP, but it isn’t enough.  “Unlike the USDA program, the HEROES Act does not mandate payment restrictions,” he says.  “Ensuring that relief is extended to all farmers who are most heavily invested in pork production.”

Iowa pork farmer Mike Paustian says while the world is starting to return to normal that’s not the case for hog farmers.  The disruption has left them in a vulnerable position and unable to make long-term plans for their farms.  “It’s just crippling to farmers to be in this situation where we’re basically having to take it day-by-day at this point,” he says. 

Kevin Hugoson, a fourth-generation farmer from Minnesota says producers have been forced to make very difficult decisions and it’s taking a toll on their mental health.  “As an owner, I’ve worked hard to still be positive to our employees, our contract growers, our family, and everything,” he says.  “And it is challenging.  So we ask that there would be compensation for the pork producers, for ourselves, or others who are in this trying time.”

The organization says livestock provisions that are included in the House-passed HEROES Act would provide much-needed relief to US pork producers and NPPC wants to see the Senate quickly adopt them in companion legislation. 

Those are:

  • Compensation for euthanized livestock that can’t be processed into the food supply due to COVID-related packing plant capacity reductions.
  • Expanded direct payments, without limitations, to livestock farmers who have suffered severe losses as COVID-related market disruptions have caused the value of their livestock to plummet.
  • Increased funding for animal health surveillance and laboratories, which have been tapped to perform COVID-19 testing during the human health emergency.
  • Mental health assistance for farmers who are facing this animal welfare crisis.

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