U.S. pork producers, in dire straits as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and facing a collective $5 billion loss for the remainder of the year, are now being denied access the Small Business Administration's Payroll Protection Program due to restrictive language preventing many pork producers from being eligible.
Specifically, PPP eligibility is determined by a positive farm profit in the calendar year 2019, or the last 12 months. For many U.S. pork producers, 2019 was not profitable as they bore the brunt of trade retaliation in China and Mexico, among two of our largest export markets. Using SBA's restrictive language, an estimated one-quarter of the U.S. hog industry is automatically disqualified from applying to the program.
"Our hog farmers are underwater through no fault of their own," says National Pork Producers Council President Howard "A.V." Roth, a pork producer from Wauzeka, Wis. "Hog farmers were at the tip of the trade retaliation spear in 2018 and 2019, losing $20 off the price of every hog. In 2020, they were forecast to make a $10 profit on every hog, until the COVID-19 crisis hit. The virus has decimated our industry and for SBA to unfairly punish pork producers and deny them access to this program is adding insult to injury."
"We urge SBA to expeditiously remove this arbitrary restriction and allow our hog farmers, deemed essential throughout this pandemic, to access this vital program," Roth adds.
U.S. pork producers desperately need significant and immediate government aid or else many generational family farms will go bankrupt. The NPPC will continue to work with the federal government to ensure U.S. pork producers have equitable access to this and other COVID-19 related funding.