Even with packing plants open, pork future remains uncertain


Collin Dorsey, KWWL (IA)

Jul 24, 2020


JESUP, Iowa (KWWL) -- Even two months after packing plants like Tyson and JBS closed facilities due to COVID-19, pork farmers aren't out of the woods just yet.


"Hopefully we can get back to normal as soon as possible. What that looks like, I don't know," said Ben Bader, a Jesup pork farmer.


Uncertainty is something everyone has become accustomed to and pork farmers are no different. Even though the packing plants are back open, there's still a back log in getting hogs processed.


"Packing plants nationwide are harvesting a little over 90 percent, so we're treading water, if not gaining a little bit, on the surplus of hogs out there," he said.


Bader, to help keep up with the shut down and keep hogs turning over, sold several head to people just looking to fill their freezer.


"I had a lot of people reach out like hunters who have done it themselves. You know locker space was hard to find, but there's a lot of people with those skills out there that wanted to do it themselves and help out a local farmer at the same time," he said.


He managed to sell off enough hogs and slow down the growth of others to keep from having to euthanize any like some farms were forced into doing.


Nationwide, farmers turned to diets that slowed the growth of hogs...


more, including video report [3:02 min.]