Illinois Pig Farmers Applaud the President’s Implementation of the Defense Production Act for Meat & Poultry

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Pig farmers in Illinois and across the United States are experiencing a bottleneck of market hogs due to the current processing plant closures. Some of our farmers are faced with full barns of hogs and nowhere to take them for harvesting.

We are facing limited processing capacity which in turn is causing a very troublesome reality – what to do with all the market ready hogs we do not have room for?

We now have a glimpse of hope with the President’s announcement to invoke the Defense Production Act (DPA). By triggering the DPA, the federal government will prioritize the continuity of pork processing plant operations.

“Our farmers are facing unprecedented times right now due to COVID-19 and the immediate forecast for the pork industry is ugly,” says Dale Weitekamp, IPPA President and pig farmer from Raymond, IL. “We need these plants to be running in order to convert our animals to food, as they are intended.”

We are confident that extra health and safety measures will be put in place for plants to reopen in accordance with this announcement. We are very thankful for the frontline workers that are keeping our food supply chain flowing.

Before this announcement, many pig farmers were already trying to find alternative methods to sell their animals and retrieve some sort of income to offset their production expenses. Pig farmers are losing an average of $70 per head today.

“This action by the President is a great first step,” says Jenny Jackson, Director of Communications for the Illinois Pork Producers Association. “However, it will not be able to alleviate all of the pigs we already have backed up to this point. We still need assistance with euthanizing and disposing to balance these extreme disruptions.”

The Illinois Pork Producers Association continues to keep farmers in touch with relevant news and actions to help their farms. Visit ilpork.com to find Illinois specific information regarding COVID-19 and the pork industry.

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