Nebraska hog farmers worry about having to euthanize livestock


On Sunday, the National Pork Board held a seminar on how to properly depopulate and dispose of hogs, acknowledging a harsh reality that some Nebraska hog farmers are already facing.

“It’s a dire situation both economically and emotionally for us hog farmers,” Terry O’Neel, a Nebraska hog farmer and former president of the National Pork Board told WOWT.

O’Neel said he has been doing everything he can to avoid killing hogs but with plant closures continuing around the Midwest, that has become increasingly difficult.

For Dave Hansen, who farms about 200 miles north of O’Neel in Hartington, Nebraska near the northwest corner of Iowa and southeast corner of South Dakota, things have been even more difficult.

The closure of Smithfield Foods plant in Sioux Falls, South Dakota has forced him to start euthanizing 500 to 600 piglets a week, but he acknowledges things get much more complex if he has to put down larger pigs.

“It’s something we don’t take lightly it’s a very last resort item we need to do,” O’Neel said. “It’s not because of economics it’s just a matter of fact - we have no place to go with them.”

Similar steps have already been taken in Minnesota.