The National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) strongly supports the Responding to Epidemic Losses and Investing in the Economic Future (RELIEF) for Producers Act of 2020, 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.).
The bill would:
• Compensate hog and poultry producers who are forced to euthanize or donate animals that can’t be processed into the food supply due to COVID-related packing plant capacity reductions;
• Increase funding for animal health surveillance and laboratories, which have appropriately assisted and shared resources with their public health partners; and
• Revise the Commodity Credit Corporation charter so a pandemic-driven national emergency qualifies for funding.
“We thank Senators Inhofe, Burr, Ernst, Grassley and Tillis for their support of U.S. hog farmers who urgently need federal assistance to address this unprecedented crisis,” said Howard “A.V.” Roth, NPPC president. “While plant capacity has improved, millions of hogs remain backed up on farms due to the COVID-created bottleneck, one that could have a lasting impact on hog farmers. The RELIEF for Producers Act provides a much-needed lifeline to thousands of farmers who could otherwise go out of business, leading to consolidation and contraction of the U.S. pork industry. We urge Congress to work together to quickly pass much-needed legislation addressing this crisis.”
The impact of COVID-19 has caused hog values to plummet, creating a financial disaster for pork producers nationwide who face a collective $5 billion loss for the remainder of the year.
“Farmers and ranchers across the country are working to operate in these unprecedented times,” said Senator Inhofe. “When I spoke with members of the Oklahoma Pork Council in May, we discussed the strain COVID-19 has put on their production cycles and their need for relief moving forward. That is why I am glad to introduce the Relief for Producers Act to provide a framework for producers and ease some of the burden brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. This legislation will help livestock and poultry farmers more easily and efficiently navigate a path forward as we battle this crisis. I want to thank the National Pork Producers Council and the Oklahoma Pork Council for their input on this bill and their continued collaboration to ensure Oklahoma pork producers’ interests are advanced in Congress.”
Additionally, U.S. pork producers face staggering costs for the millions of hogs that may be euthanized as pigs back up on farms due to ongoing bottlenecks in the pork supply chain. For more information on U.S. pork industry’s response to COVID-related challenges, please visit http://nppc.org/issues/issue/your-food-is-our-priority/.