Congressman Steve King announces that he has introduced legislation Friday that seeks “to provide Federal relief to hog producers who have been forced to euthanize hogs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The COVID-19 driven closure of pork processing plants throughout the Midwest is going to result in millions of market ready hogs being euthanized, forcing unprecedented losses on America’s farmers. A copy of King’s legislation, officially numbered HR 7051, may be seen at this link.
“When I visited the JBS processing plant in Worthington, Minnesota at the invitation of House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson, preliminary estimates were that pork producers faced euthanizing 1.25 million healthy, market-ready hogs,” said King. “Since then, that number has skyrocketed, and new estimates suggest processing shutdowns and slowdowns may force producers to euthanize 7 million hogs or more. Our producers are facing crushing COVID-19 related losses through no fault of their own, and my bill will allow most American owned operations to receive the vital funds they need to cover a share of these unprecedented losses and to continue operations.”
Key provisions in King’s legislation have been included to ensure that American taxpayer dollars are directed to primarily American family producers by excluding both foreign-owned and packer-owned hogs from payment eligibility.
The King bill also creates a structured payment system for covered producers. Under the terms of the King bill, the Secretary of Agriculture shall reimburse—
- for the first 50,000 hogs of such covered producer, 70 percent of the cost of such losses of such covered producer;
- for up to 50,000 hogs in addition to paragraph (1), 55 percent of the cost of such losses of such covered producer; and
- for up to 100,000 hogs in addition to paragraph (1) and (2), 45 percent of the cost of such losses of such covered producer.
- for any amount of hogs in addition to paragraphs (1), (2), and (3), 35 percent of the cost of such losses of such covered producer.
In determining the amount of losses for purposes of the payment rates under the King legislation, the Secretary shall use the average weekly price (as determined by the Secretary of Agriculture) for a market-ready hog. Under the legislation, a market-ready hog is defined as one that is at least 300 pounds and ready for market.