Farmscape for April 15, 2020
The National Pork Producers Council is calling for immediate government intervention to sustain a farm sector essential to the U.S. food supply.
A long standing labor shortage which has already limited pork processing plant harvesting capacity has become dramatically worse in recent days as plants have suspended operations in dealing with rising worker absences.
National Pork Producers Council President A.V. Roth told reporters participating in a conference call yesterday this is backing up hogs on farm creating a financial crisis as hog prices plummet.
Clip-A.V. Roth-National Pork Producers Council:
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 dollars per hog marketed or five billion dollars collectively for the rest of the year.
This is on top of nearly five dollars a head lost in January and February and after trade retaliation, significant losses for our export dependent farmers over the last two years.
We are now a farm sector in dire crisis.
Farmers are already exiting the business and the damage will worsen without immediate government intervention.
Producers need over one billion in pork purchases by the USDA to clear out a backed up meat supply, supplementing the agency's food bank programs facing increased demand due to rising unemployment and direct payments to producers without eligibility restrictions.
Roth says America's hog farmers are resilient and typically self-sufficient but COVID-19 has created an unprecedented circumstance and swift government action is needed to stabilize a sector that accounts for more than half a million jobs in rural America that are now at risk.
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