Pork and Cattle Production Struggles Continue Among Iowa Farmers | New


OTTUMWA – May began with the lowest number of pork and beef transformations in a decade, according to research from the Iowa Farm Bureau.

Farmers and rural communities in Iowa continue to face growing challenges and uncertainty as disruptions to meat processing plants affected by COVID-19 have created a bottleneck in the supply chain. supply with major negative impacts for farmers and consumers. While some meat processing plants have reopened, the impacts on the country’s main pork-producing state amid the supply chain disruption are significant.

The week ending May 2 saw the lowest weekly hog slaughter of the past decade (2011-2020), and the slaughter of cattle was also a decade lower for a non-holiday week. Prior to the global COVID-19 pandemic, consumer demand and production levels for pork and beef were at record highs, with Iowa farmers responsible for nearly a third of pork production in the states United and one of the top 10 beef producing states.

“Looking back just two months ago to March 1, 2020, market hog stocks were at their all-time high for that time,” said Sam Funk, director of agricultural analysis and senior economist at the ‘Iowa Farm Bureau Federation (IFBF). “Pig farmers in the United States and Iowa have entered this pandemic by producing at record levels to meet consumer needs, but the reduced harvesting capacity of pigs due to COVID-19 has resulted in a supply surplus of pigs, despite a very strong demand for pork protein from the United States and global consumers.

IFBF analysis shows that from the week ending March 21 to the week ending May 2, weekly pig slaughter declined by more than 44 percent, or nearly 1.3 million head . The bottleneck in the supply chain associated with an increasing number of pigs ready to be marketed has driven prices down to the point that many pig farmers suffer significant losses in 2020 and beyond, thus chasing a center -Eight-year economic city for farmers in Iowa.

“The plight facing pig farmers today is shared by cattle producers, another industry producing at decade-high levels in March 2020 before the pandemic disrupted the supply chain,” said Funk. “Much as we have observed with pork, the slowdowns and suspensions of processing facilities induced by COVID-19 have caused beef production to drop from ten years to a weekly low for all non-holiday weeks in the past. decade. “

The livestock harvest had declined by 260,000 head between the week ending March 28 and the week ending May 2. The reduction in meat processing has forced some grocers, retailers and fast food chains to restrict or limit consumer purchases given the supply chain. disturbances.

“While consumers may see short-term impacts at the grocery store when it comes to meat selection and quantities available for purchase, it’s important to note that the challenges Iowa farmers face are huge and likely to expand throughout this year and into the next year. Said Funk. “The data from the study clearly underscores the need to get the supply chain back on track in a way that protects workers and provides a lifeline for farmers. “

President Donald Trump announced on Saturday that the federal government will soon be purchasing $ 3 billion worth of dairy, meat and produce. Purchases will begin early this week from farmers, ranchers and producers of specialty crops for food chains and kitchens in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“With each passing day, tens of thousands of animals cannot be treated due to the supply chain bottleneck caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, impacting consumers and consumers alike. devastating farmers, ”Funk said. “Farmers are doing a great job of meeting the animal protein needs of consumers in the United States and around the world. The reduced processing capacity of market animals is now forcing herders to make extremely difficult and heartbreaking decisions.

“The public health pandemic of COVID-19 harms most of the world’s population and has a significant impact on the farmers who provide the food, fuel and fiber on which we all depend most in terms of cost economic and livelihoods. Some people are out of work. Farmers are working and investing more every day to feed their livestock and crops, and the market prices they face threaten their ability to continue producing the products we depend on. “

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