Pork Industry Faces a Double Whammy with China and COVID-19

( National Pork Board and the Pork Checkoff )

The pork industry is facing a double whammy with the uncertainty of China trade and the uncertainty of COVID-19, Nick Giordano, vice president and counsel for global government affairs for the National Pork Producers Council (NPPC), told host Chip Flory on AgriTalk on Tuesday. 

Giordano joined Flory for a special #PORKWeek discussion on trade and legislation.

“This is an unprecedented disaster we're having in the U.S. hog industry right now,” Giordano said.

Can additional financial assistance for hog producers be carved out of the HEROES Act? Flory asked.

“Absolutely. The HEROES Act has zero chance of becoming law. It’s a Democratic bill. Republicans aren't going to go along with it. Just like the Dems wouldn't go along with a totally Republican bill. But politics is the art of compromise,” Giordano said.

NPPC leaders are talking to a lot of people on the Senate side, he explained, and government leaders realize that the provisions largely crafted by Chairman Peterson are really good – for the livestock sector and for agriculture. 

“It's our No. 1 priority. We appreciate what Congress and the administration did in the CARES Act, but it's not enough,” Giordano said.

Getting to the other side is a priority for a lot of producers out there, Flory said. Government assistance is crucial. The mission is to keep as many people in the pork industry as possible, although that may not be possible, Giordano added. 

“It's tough and if that doesn't happen, we'll have contraction long-term. You'll have higher consumer prices and probably a more concentrated industry,” Giordano said. “I think that argument has really helped with the payment limitations and the producer payments.”

NPPC is working to get both compensation for two strings of animals – those that can make it into the food supply and those that unfortunately have to be euthanized, he said. 

“This is hitting large, medium and small,” Giordano added. “If you limit the payments, you're going to have some contraction and concentration probably.”

Listen to the entire interview between Flory and Giordano on AgriTalk.

We know that nothing can replace World Pork Expo, but we will be uniting together June 1-6 for PORK Week across all of our Farm Journal platforms to elevate the important role the pork industry plays in feeding the world. Share your stories and post photos on social media using #PORKWeek to help us honor the pork industry. From “AgDay TV” to “AgriTalk” to “U.S. Farm Report” to PorkBusiness.com and everything in between, tune in and join us as we acknowledge the most noble profession there is: feeding people.

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