Subscribe to Our Newsletters
National Hog Farmer is the source for hog production, management and market news
January 27, 2022
In 2020, the impact of COVID-19 on processing rates was short-lived in the largest pork producing region.
Collectively, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri and Nebraska compose the largest hog processing region in the United States. More than 40% of all U.S. hogs are processed within the borders of this four-state area USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service identifies as Region 7 of 10 Federal regions. The region is also home to more large and medium-size processing plants than the other regions.
Large plants employ more than 1,000 people and medium plants employ 100 to 1,000 people. In the first three months of the COVID-19 pandemic (March–May 2020), Region 7 experienced a 40% decline in hog slaughter compared with rates during the same period in 2019. Labor shortages attributed to COVID-19 infections among workers resulted in slow production and temporary shutdowns at large processing plants for about 10 weeks. However, when looking at hog slaughter and reported COVID-19 cases for the entire year, slaughter increased even as cases of infection also increased.
From June 2020 through the end of December 2020, weekly slaughter rates were generally on par with 2019 levels for the corresponding weeks. The recovery was in part due to improvements in labor availability and the adoption of plant-specific strategies aimed at improving worker safety and efficiency.
Overall, hog slaughter for the region in 2020 was approximately 2% higher than in 2019, according to NASS' Livestock Slaughter 2020 Summary, even with the sharp declines in production that occurred at the onset of the pandemic. This chart is drawn from the Economic Research Service's COVID-19 Working Paper: Changes in Regional Hog Slaughter During COVID-19.
Source: USDA Economic Research Service, which is solely responsible for the information provided, and wholly owns the information. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset. The opinions of this writer are not necessarily those of Farm Progress/Informa.
You May Also Like
Current Conditions for
Enter a zip code to see the weather conditions for a different location.
This Week in Agribusiness, Feb. 24, 2024Feb 24, 2024
International consumer key to future of US pork industryFeb 23, 2024
Implications of Prop 12 compliance on the farmFeb 23, 2024
Prop 12 journey: Production lessons learnedFeb 23, 2024