South Dakota hog farmers working through disruptions

An upper Midwest hog farmer continues to work through the marketing disruptions caused by the packer shutdowns due to COVID-19.

Shane Odegaard, an east central South Dakota producer, was informed in mid-April of the temporary closure of the Sioux Falls Smithfield plant, when hundreds of workers tested positive for coronavirus. He had to work quickly to find a place for market ready hogs.

“We were marketing quite a few hogs, that we marketed probably close to over 300 just through direct marketing going in through a local butcher shop, Odegaard said. “And that helped us considerably to keep the top weight down in our barn.”

Packing plants have reopened, although processing capacity has yet to catch up to what it was before the pandemic.

Odegaard says that he cannot let his guard down even though his production is back to as close to normal as can be expected.

“Heaven forbid, if we have another disruption in the food chain, the first disruption will look quite minor to what a second one would be,” he said.

Odegaard said he has sent his pigs as for as 400 miles.