Pork producers face financial crisis amid COVID-19 outbreak
The National Pork Producers Council says COVID-19 has created a financial disaster for the pork industry and US pork producers could face up to $5 billion in collective losses over the remainder of the year.
Wisconsin pork producer AV Roth is president of NPPC. “An analysis by Dr. Dermot Hayes, an economist with Iowa State University and Dr. Steve Meyer an industry economist projects that hog farmers will lose $37 per hog marketed,” he says.
Pork processing plants are suspending operations, which limits slaughter capacity, creating a surplus of pigs. Roth says hogs are backing up on producer’s farms. “Creating a financial crisis as hog values plummet and an animal welfare crisis as market-ready hogs have nowhere to go,” he says.
The organization and its members have identified several measures to help the pork producers weather the current storm. Roth says producers need over $1 billion in pork purchases by the USDA to clear out a backed-up meat supply, supplementing food bank programs facing increased demand due to rising unemployment. He says those purchases should accommodate pork products that were originally allocated for the food services industry.
NPPC says producers also need direct payments without eligibility requirements. The organization is also seeking a legislative fix to emergency loan programs that do not include farmers and wants Congress to increase the cap on qualifying businesses to those that employ up to 1,500 people and to make agricultural businesses eligible for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.