Brazil Floods Devastate Hog Farms in Rio Grande do Sul, Affecting Major Pork Exporters

Hog farmers in Rio Grande do Sul, a state responsible for nearly a quarter of Brazil’s pork exports, suffered devastating losses as floods submerged entire towns and destroyed critical infrastructure. According to a Reuters report, an estimated 12,600 hogs perished due to the flooding.

Valdecir Folador, head of the hog producers’ lobby ACSURS, stated in an interview on Monday that around 30 farms were impacted by the flooding. These farms include those operated by suppliers to major companies such as BRF SA and JBS SA’s Seara processed foods division. ACSURS took two weeks to estimate the extent of the losses.

While the companies have not yet commented on the situation, Folador highlighted the significant role of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil’s pork industry. The state accounts for 24.24% of the country’s pork exports, according to data from the national industry lobby ABPA, which represents the largest pork and chicken processors in Brazil.

The port of Rio Grande, responsible for shipping nearly 9% of Brazil’s pork exports, was also disrupted by floods and landslides. These natural disasters blocked roads and affected a rail link to the port’s terminals, further complicating the export process.

Folador noted that while the direct loss of 12,600 hogs is relatively small compared to the state’s total hog population of around 5 million, the indirect losses are significant. The floods have blocked roads and cut off access to food and water supplies, leading to additional challenges for farmers.

The lack of feed has resulted in reduced animal weights on some farms, where food had to be rationed, and female animals struggled to nurse their offspring. Farmers supplying BRF’s plant in the Lajeado area were particularly hard hit, with an estimated 60% of all hogs that died coming from this region. This plant has the capacity to process 3,000 hogs per day.

The full impact of the floods on the pork industry in Rio Grande do Sul is still being assessed, but the current losses highlight the vulnerability of agricultural infrastructure to extreme weather events.