Pork producers feeling the pressure from plant closures
The pork supply chain is starting to fracture as more processing plants are closing their doors to battle COVID-19. The slowdowns and shutdowns are backing hogs up across all levels of pork production.
Cheryl Walsh operates a breed to wean facility with her family in central Illinois. “So far – right now, we’re able to manage our flow,” she says. “But we’re getting to the point where we’re running out of spaces for our sows to farrow.”
She tells Brownfield their operation has experienced minor disruptions over the past couple of weeks. “The guy who was buying our weaned pigs still had way too many fat hogs in his buildings,” she says. “So, he had to cut the number of pigs he took from us. We went to another customer who was able to take more because his barn was empty.”
But, Walsh says if processing facilities can’t reopen it won’t take long to disrupt the food supply chain for an extended period of time. “Even if they’re able to do it on a light-duty compared to their normal,” she says. “We need to make all accommodations to keep the packers going because at the end of the day – that’s our food source.”
She says there’s plenty of pork available – the problem will be getting it to the consumer.