Hog farmers face more losses during COVID-19: Many ‘will not survive’ pandemic

U.S. hog farmers may have a long road ahead as the pandemic continues to surge, an industry economist said recently. The National Pork Producers Council now is pressing lawmakers to account for farmers in their next aid bill.

An estimated 2 million hogs are still backed up on farms, and farmers face massive losses, said Steve Meyer, an economist at Kerns & Associates. He estimates that from the beginning of March through early July, potential 2020 revenue from hog sales has dropped nearly $4.7 billion.

With losses from euthanasia, disposal and donation of pigs with no market outlet and insufficient space to hold them, pork producers have lost nearly $5 billion in actual and potential profits this year, Meyer said. Those losses could continue into next year.

“This is, by far, the worst financial disaster ever for American hog farmers, who were already in a weakened financial position due to two years of trade retaliation,” Meyer said. “As we entered 2020, hog farmers were finally looking at a profitable year, only to have COVID-19 turn the industry on its head.”

National Pork Producers Council president Howard “AV” Roth added that many U.S. hog farmers “will not survive this crisis.” He continued, “As the Senate begins work on the next COVID relief package, we urge lawmakers to provide a critical lifeline to hog farmers across the nation to minimize what has already been significant damage to our producers.”