The government offered to help livestock producers locate contractors skilled in killing herds or flocks of animals and to provide cost-share funding for their disposal because the coronavirus pandemic has shut down packing plants and reduced consumer demand. The National Pork Board held a webinar on Sunday that discussed step by step “emergency depopulation and disposal” of hogs.
Producers have warned since mid-March of a potentially ruinous backup on the farm of cattle and hogs because of a slowdown at slaughter plants. Hog farmers may be in the worse situation because hogs typically reach slaughter weight of around 250 pounds in five or six months from birth and cannot easily be held from market. Two weeks ago, the president of the National Pork Producers Council, farmer Howard Roth of Wisconsin, said, “Sadly, it is true that euthanization is a question that is coming up on farms.”
“American livestock and poultry producers are facing an unprecedented emergency due to COVID-19, particularly with the closing of meat processing plants in several states,” said the USDA on Friday night. It announced a National Incident Coordination Center “to provide direct support to producers whose animals cannot move to market as a result of processing plant closures due to COVID-19.” The incident center would seek alternative markets for livestock “and if necessary, advise and assist on depopulation and disposal methods.”
“Encouraging news … from USDA for help on depopulation + disposal methods if necessary but govt needs