The National Pork Producers Council sent a letter Wednesday to congressional leadership urging them to include the "Responding to Epidemic Losses and Investing in the Economic Future for Producers Act of 2020" in the next COVID-19 economic recovery package.
The RELIEF bill, introduced by Sens. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Joni Ernst (R-Iowa), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), includes:
- Compensation for euthanized and donated hogs.
- Additional funding for animal health surveillance and laboratories, which have appropriately assisted and shared resources with their public health partners.
- Modification of the Commodity Credit Corporation charter so a pandemic-driven national emergency qualifies for funding.
In a letter to the House and Senate leaders, NPPC stated, "After two years at the tip of the trade retaliation spear, U.S. hog farmers were looking at a profitable 2020. COVID-19 turned this outlook upside down; pork producers will now lose approximately $5 billion this year – or $37 per hog – as harvest facility disruptions have caused hog values to plummet and have forced farmers to euthanize or donate over one million pigs so far. The crisis continues as an estimated two million hogs remain backed up on farms. According to Dr. Steve Meyer of Kerns Associates, perhaps the most respected hog sector economist in the nation, those two million hogs are unlikely to make it into the food supply given pork harvest facility constraints due to COVID-19."
NPPC also continues to push for expanded direct payments for pork producers and enhancements to the Paycheck Protection Program. However, the likelihood of a deal coming together on the COVID-19 relief package remains unclear with sides far apart.