Hog farmers facing unprecedented losses

Last year pork producers faced African Swine Fever and now those same producers are facing a 17-year low due to COVID-19.

The ripple effect caused by the pandemic has played a big part in this financial issue. The decreasing ag markets, bottlenecking of the supply chain, and processing plant closures leave producers without a market to sell their hogs.

David Preisler, the CEO of the Minnesota Pork Producers Association, claims, “Livestock, especially in this area, is the largest consumer of corn and soybeans, so all farmers are really in this together. [If] We end up downsizing the livestock industry... you’re going to have a double whammy...it’ll have a direct effect back on demand for feed and that’s not going to be good for corn and soybean.”

Plant closures and cutbacks have caused a backup of product waiting to be processed.

David Amato, a Market Analyst for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, states, “Currently, about 8 percent of U.S. meat packing capacity is ‘off line,’ and most plants are operating anywhere between 50 and 75 percent of normal production, a lot of that is due to employee absenteeism; given those estimates the total meat packing industry is about 60 percent of normal capacity.”