Pork producers continue to be one of the hardest hit in the ag sector amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Department of Agriculture rolled out the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program, which features direct payments to help farmers across rural America. National Pork Producers Council President A.V. Roth says they appreciate the assistance, but it’s not enough as they continue to lose money on every pig sent to market.
“We appreciate that CFAP appears to reach more pork producer than those included in USDA’s trade retaliation relief, but it falls short of what is needed to sustain thousands of impacted producers. Our hog farmers are facing a significant financial and emotional crisis and are set to lose more than $5 billion collectively as the value of hogs have plummeted. They also face staggering costs associated with depopulation and disposal.”
Roth says the pork producers are asking the Senate to pass the agricultural provisions in the HEROES Act, recently passed by the House of Representatives.
“NPPC continues to work with Congress and the administration on efforts to help hog producers get through this crisis. That’s why we’re urging the Senate to adopt companion legislation that includes the livestock agricultural measures included in the HEROES Act. Unlike the USDA program, the HEROES Act does not mandate payment restrictions, ensuring that relief is extended to those farmers who are most heavily invested in pork production. We ask that the USDA maintain this structure in any implementation.”
While pig farmers understand that any government program won’t make them whole, the help would allow a number of operations, many of which have likely been in the family for generations, to continue.