As coronavirus hog backlog shrinks, farmers should see higher prices

Hog farmers struggled with a coronavirus-caused backlog of market-ready hogs that peaked at 3.5 million head at the end of May, forcing them to cull some and slowing weight gain on others. The backlog remains large, but Purdue economist Jayson Lusk says farmers may see "possibly elevated hog prices" by the end of the year as the hog supply shrinks.

Hog farms in coronavirus crisis need more aid, say producers

More federal aid is needed if hog farmers are to survive the coronavirus pandemic, said pork industry leaders on Thursday. They urged the Senate to approve compensatory payments for hogs that are culled and an additional round of cash payments to all U.S. farmers and ranchers. (No paywall)

As U.S. hog backup tops 2 million head, Iowa says it will help pay for carcass disposal

The persisting coronavirus slowdown at pork plants has stranded 2 million hogs on the farm with no buyer, and the backlog is growing, said economist Steve Meyer on Wednesday, suggesting that some farmers will be forced to destroy their animals. In Iowa, the state announced a program to help farmers cover the cost of carcass disposal. (No paywall)

Most meat plants will be on line this week despite coronavirus, says Perdue

Although beef and pork slaughter plants ran at less than three-fourths capacity last week, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue says, "We think most of our facilities will be back on line" by the end of this week. That would account for as much as 85 percent of U.S. meat-processing capacity. Fourteen beef, pork and poultry plants resumed operation last week, according to the USDA. Other tallies showed a handful of plants still shut down.(No paywall)

Midwestern hog plants ease back into operation; ‘We’ve turned the corner,’ says Perdue

Three packing plants that account for 12 percent of U.S. hog slaughter are slowly resuming production this week after coronavirus shutdowns, potentially loosening a bottleneck among meat processors that is tightening supplies and raising prices at the grocery store. "I think we've turned the corner" on meat shortages, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue. (No paywall)

Three pork plants are top U.S. priority for reopening, says Peterson

The Trump administration's top meat-industry priority is reopening three pork plants, now shuttered due to coronavirus outbreaks, that account for 12 percent of U.S. hog slaughter, said the House Agriculture Committee chairman on Wednesday. Labor and public officials said meat production will not revive nationwide unless workers feel safe in the processing plants. (No paywall)

The prospect of ‘depopulating’ the U.S. hog herd

Nationwide, pork production has dropped by more than 20 percent over the last month, and industrial farmers find their barns filling up. Now, the "end for hundreds of thousands of pigs is likely to arrive in an orgy of waste that turns the stomachs of even the most pragmatic," writes Elizabeth Royte, in FERN's latest story. "Asked to describe how a farmer decides to 'depopulate' — the word of choice — a barn full of market-ready pigs, David Newman, a Missouri pig farmer and president of the National Pork Board, sighs heavily. 'It’s a tremendously emotional time to be in the livestock business. We’re trying to be creative.'”(No paywall)

Cattle industry asks for no USDA limit on coronavirus aid

The USDA should abandon thoughts of a $125,000 or $250,000 per-person limit on federal payments to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on agriculture, said the cattle industry on Thursday. It was the first public challenge by a farm group to the Trump administration's plan to send $16 billion in cash to farmers and ranchers by June. (No paywall)

USDA to buy as much excess milk and meat as possible, says Perdue

Besides billions of dollars in cash payments to farmers, coronavirus relief will include purchases of "as much" milk and meat as possible for hunger relief, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Wednesday. President Trump says at least $16 billion will be spent on aid to agriculture. (No paywall)