The backlog of hogs in states hit hardest by the meatpacking industry crisis is just now easing up somewhat. Hundreds of thousands of hogs were killed by producers who had nowhere to send the animals for processing.
While that number is short of the initial slaughter estimates of millions of hogs, the pork industry still needs financial assistance to cover the cost of euthanizing animals as well as for the price losses from COVID-19.
They’re also asking for help getting mental health resources for farmers who were understandably disturbed by having to kill their animals for disposal.
“The drain on equity and the financial and emotional crisis that farmers are facing is not resolved,” says Dave Preisler, CEO of the Minnesota Pork Producers Association.
Producers have gone to great lengths to reduce the backlog and avoid on-farm slaughter. Some have been shipping hogs to processors out of state or selling directly to individuals looking to stockpile meat. Others have started contracting with smaller processors, who’ve seen an unprecedented rise in their business. Still, Politico says those measures haven’t fully solved the large pileup of excess hogs.