The crisis for American farmers forcing them to cull their livestock continues. The world’s biggest meat producers including Smithfield Foods, Cargill, JBS USA and Tyson Foods have ceased operations at 20 slaughterhouses and processing plants in the United States.According to Reuters, one Iowa farmer has no place to ship his pigs to make room for 7,500 piglets he expected from his breeding operation. Since then, he has injected each of the pregnant sows with a drug that will make them abort their babies.
Processors, who in the past have shipped to restaurants, have been stopped in their tracks by the closures and have no place to store their products ranging from milk, salad greens to animals. They are not equipped to supply the grocery stores.
And for millions of pigs, chickens and cattle their deaths are imminent. Pork has been taken the biggest cut because pigs are fattened up in temperature controlled buildings. If left too long, the hogs get too big and injure themselves. At their maturity, the pigs are sent to slaughter, and it makes room for the baby piglets from the sows impregnated just before the start of the pandemic.
At a farm in Minnesota, workers used carbon dioxide to kill their 61,000 egg laying hens. In better times, the eggs went to restaurants and food service industries. Although Daybreak Farms tried to switch over to grocery stores, there is a nationwide shortage of egg cartons.
Farmers in other places in the country have varying degrees of animal population control problems. Some farmers are feeding their pigs less so they don’t get fat so quickly. Other farmers are giving the baby pigs away for free.
Oddly enough, the prices for meat and eggs in grocery stores continues to rise. Prices for eggs have increased 40% within the last two weeks. Chicken prices have risen 5.4%, beef 5.8% and pork up 6.6%.
Pig farmers are expected to lose an estimated $5 billion or $37 per head for the rest of the year. Prospects for other American farmers reflect equally as dim futures, and the recently announced $19 billion government coronavirus aid package does not include livestock killed.