Hog-price volatility due to the COVID-19 pandemic has already exacted financial harm on U.S. pork producers. The National Pork Producers Council is in dialogue with members of Congress and the administration to help them understand the impact on producers and the economic importance of the sector.
Last week, NPPC engaged the U.S. Small Business Administration to reinforce the importance of favorable lines of credit for pork producers, citing support for payroll, animal welfare and production input costs. The letter to the U.S. SBA reads:
U.S. pork producers are committed to the special responsibility we hold for keeping Americans and consumers worldwide nourished with healthy protein. In fulfilling this responsibility, the industry generates more than 500,000 American jobs and more than $23 billion in personal income. U.S. pork production is an essential element of the rural economy.
Considering the current COVID-19 outbreak in the United States and the growing uncertainty about the overall health of our nation, it is imperative that there is minimal disruption in the production of food, including pork. Hog farmers must have access to necessary resources — including favorable lines of credit — to care for their animals, pay their employees and maintain an uninterrupted supply of pork. We respectfully ask that you establish accessible forms of financial credit for America's pork producers to support their role as essential infrastructure for our country’s food supply. Making accessible forms of credit readily available addresses the following needs of our farmers:
U.S. pork producers and plant operators are already facing a severe labor shortage. The availability of readily accessible lines of credit ensures they can meet payroll and retain key employees who both care for pigs and work in our plants. Employee retention and support is particularly critical now as working parents are faced with school closings and the industry deals with the potential for an increase in absent workers.
American hog farmers partner with a wide range of suppliers and service providers who are instrumental for animal feed and nutrition, biosecurity, animal health and transportation. The entire supply chain needs access to accessible forms of credit such as lowinterest loans to maintain relationships with veterinarians, feed suppliers and transportation partners who move hogs from farm to plants. They also need these credit resources to maintain adequate supplies of standard equipment, including boot covers, coveralls and disinfectants.
On behalf of the more than 60,000 pork producers nationwide, we ask you to support the essential food supply role we play with accessible forms of financial credit to ensure business continuity.