pork

USDA boosts funding for pandemic hog payments

Hog farmers who sold slaughter pigs at unduly low prices during the early months of the pandemic will receive an estimated $62.8 million in the coming weeks, nearly $13 million more than initially expected, said the Agriculture Department on Tuesday. The USDA increased funding for the Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program (SMHPP) to eliminate the possibility of pro-rated payments.

Foes of California’s Prop 12 get their day in Supreme Court

The Supreme Court agreed on Monday to hear a farm-group challenge that says California's animal welfare rules pose an unconstitutional burden on farmers and consumers throughout the nation. Approved by voters in a landslide in 2018, Proposition 12 requires California farmers to give more room to sows and egg-laying hens, and bars the sale of meat produced on farms outside the state that do not match California's standards.

India agrees to allow imports of U.S. pork

After years of U.S. prodding, India has agreed to allow imports of U.S. pork and pork products, said the Biden administration on Monday. Despite being the second-most populous nation on earth, India imports small amounts of pork at present, but U.S. farm groups believe there is great potential for sales.

USDA finds big pork plants recovered quickly from Covid-19

Outbreaks of Covid-19 at meatpacking plants slashed U.S. hog slaughter rates by 36 percent in late April 2020, but a USDA report found that “regions with large pork processing plants recovered in a couple of months” – similar to regions with small plants. Critics of the highly concentrated meat …

Deadly swine disease confirmed in Haiti

Disease experts confirmed a case of African swine fever in Haiti, the second known case in the Western hemisphere in two months and a potential risk to U.S. hog farmers. African swine fever is harmless to humans but has a high mortality rate among hogs; it wiped out nearly half of China's hogs in 2018 and 2019.

China sets monthly record for purchases of U.S. food and ag

Although it is likely to fall short of its “phase one” target, China purchased a record $4.8 billion of U.S. food, agricultural and seafood products during October, contributing to the surge in grain and soybean prices, analysts said on Monday. “The big question right now for …

Beef slumps while pork exports surge

For the first six months of the year, exports of American beef tumbled by 15 percent, probably due to Covid-19 turmoil, while pork exports soared by 28 percent compared to 2019 levels, said the USDA on Tuesday. Large shipments to China were the primary factor in the surge in pork shipments, …

Hog backlog forecast to rise to 2.5 million head by year’s end

Coronavirus safeguards are constraining slaughter capacity at U.S. pork plants, causing the hog backlog to more than double to 2.5 million head by the end of this year, said a pork industry analyst on Monday. Economist Steve Meyer said the pandemic was "by far, the worst financial disaster ever for American hog farmers, who already were in a weakened financial position due to two years of trade retaliation."

Coronavirus slowed U.S. exports of beef and pork in May

Beef exports were the smallest in 10 years during May and pork exports were the lowest in seven months, "due in part to interruptions in slaughter and processing," said the U.S. Meat Export Federation. Chief executive Dan Halstrom said the global economic slowdown and stay-at-home orders in some Western Hemisphere nations also were factors. (No paywall)

Pay hog farmers indemnities for culling herds, say senators

The next coronavirus relief bill should include indemnity money for hog farmers who killed their animals because slaughter plants were shut down due to the coronavirus, said 14 senators in a letter to House and Senate leaders on Monday. The letter did not suggest how much the indemnities would cost.

‘The workers are being sacrificed’

new FERN investigation, published Friday in collaboration with Mother Jones, reporters Esther Honig and Ted Genoways tell the stories of workers in America's meatpacking plants who are facing high rates of Covid-19 — and of the industry's chilling disregard for its workforce. (No paywall)

Stronger-than-expected sales to China buoy US ag exports

The China-U.S. trade war cut deeply into U.S. farm exports to China, but not as far as initially estimated, said the Department of Agriculture on Monday. The agency forecasted $139 billion in agriculture exports, the largest amount in three years and up 3 percent from 2019. A key reason for the …

Complaints about North Carolina’s hog industry vanished in state bureaucracy

For years, complaints about hog pollution in North Carolina disappeared after they were filed with state authorities, FERN's latest story with The Guardian and the Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting says. But as a result of a settlement with environmental justice groups, the state this year began posting complaints online – exceeding in six months the number of complaints in the prior decade.

Smallest U.S. ag exports in three years amid trade war

The trade war with China and low commodity prices will combine to slash U.S. farm exports by 4.5 percent this fiscal year, said the USDA on Thursday in a quarterly forecast. Exports of $137 billion would be the smallest since 2016, when exports bottomed out following the collapse of the commodity boom.

Hog prices below cost of production because of trade war

Pork producers will struggle through this winter with market prices below the cost of production, says economist Chris Hurt of Purdue University. "Record pork production and trade disputes continue to be the near-term drag on prices," wrote Hurt at the farmdoc Daily blog, adding that futures prices in the spring and summer "will be high enough to provide profitability."

As China tightens its belt, U.S. soybeans feel the pinch

The giant of world soybean trade, China, will slash its soy imports by 10 percent this trade year under the dual effects of trade war with the United States and an outbreak of African swine fever, said the U.S. agriculture attache in Beijing. At the same time, USDA data show a sharp decline in soybean exports to all markets and a trade group said tit-for-tat tariffs are putting pressure on pork sales to China and Mexico.

If it’s not cage-free, California referendum would bar sale of eggs, pork and veal

A decade ago, California voters rattled the U.S. farm sector and set off years of lawsuits by approving a referendum to give egg-laying chickens, sows and veal calves the room to stand up, lie down, turn around and fully extend their limbs. On Nov. 6, the electorate could do it again, this time by specifying how many square feet each animal would get and by banning the sale of meat and eggs from farms that do not comply with the rules.

‘Farmers are smart,’ won’t need more aid, says Perdue

U.S. farmers and ranchers were blindsided by the Trump trade war, but they will adapt quickly to lower commodity prices and disruptions in the export market, said Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue on Wednesday. “Farmers are smart,” he said, swatting down the idea that the White House will write another agriculture aid package after earmarking up to $12 billion for this year.

Iowa court will rule on residents’ right to sue farms

A case heard by the Iowa Supreme Court on Monday could have a dramatic effect on whether communities can sue factory farms that move into their neighborhoods. The case was brought by a group of community members against a pair of hog confinement operations run by Valley View Swine and JBS.

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