When I think about the pork industry and all we have been through in the past year and continue to suffer through, I believe the title of this column describes how many people in the industry feel right now.
Recent weeks have shown that we are, for the most part, getting caught up and current with marketing. This is less true in the Carolinas, and fourth quarter sales across the country are still unknown. But we are in a much better place than we were a month ago. For many, 2020 will be a year of operation losses. Profitability, if there are profits, will come from hedge gains for the most part.
Here are three traits that have helped the pork industry move forward despite the challenges this year.
Our industry is full of people who are passionate about what they do. We feed the world through constant improvement in every aspect of our jobs. The product we produce has continued to improve dramatically over the years. Today’s pork is lean, healthy and safe. The continuous improvement in using natural resources is phenomenal. Producing pork is vastly more efficient than at any time in history - using less land base, water and labor resources than at any time in the past. This all speaks to the passion that producers have to do what they do better than ever. When you look at improvements in pigs per sow, for example, the top 25% are nearing 30 pigs annually. I believe this passion needs to move us closer to the consumer, sharing the story of the pork industry.
Independent producers are some of the most optimistic people in the world. They take risks every day to build a more sustainable business, keep production volume and costs competitive and find prices in the market that allow a return. Each time a producer looks at expansion projects, they have to be optimistic about production, costs and revenue.
The producers I have worked with over the years are very grateful for the opportunity to continue to contribute to this industry. We are grateful to live in a country that is supportive of farms alongside farmers who work tirelessly to feed the world. When you travel the globe and understand the challenges of finding feedstuffs, labor, water and capital, you become a little more grateful for what we have.
We have been challenged in 2020, but I’m hopeful the worst is behind us.
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