King Announces Bill to Indemnify Pork Producers for Euthanized Hogs
Pork Producers Have Been Forced to Euthanize Hogs due to Packer Shutdown or Slowdown
Washington DC- Congressman Steve King announces that he is drafting legislation that will provide federal relief to hog producers who are being forced to euthanize several million market ready fat hogs due to packing plant shutdowns and slowdowns as a result of high COVID-19 infection rates among American packing plant workers. The bill will be specifically targeted to provide reimbursement to American pork producers who are feeders and it ensures that funds allocated under it cannot be accessed by foreign entities. Iowa’s 4th Congressional District ranks as the top district in the United States in terms of market value of hogs and pigs sold annually, according to USDA statistics.
“The COVID-19 driven closure of the pork processing plants in the Midwest is going to result in millions of market ready hogs being euthanized, forcing unprecedented losses on America’s farmers,” said King. “This once in a lifetime pandemic has placed our pork producers in a horrible situation in which they are forced, through no fault of their own, to euthanize their market-ready hogs at great loss rather than have them processed and delivered to American dinner tables. My legislation will allow most American owned operations to receive the vital funds they need to cover a share of these unprecedented losses and it will ensure our smaller pork producers will remain in business to feed the post-lockdown world.”
The text of Congressman King’s bill is being drafted, but broad principles of the legislation are available now for discussion. Among those principles are the inclusion of language which is designed to keep American tax dollars in America. In addition, King intends to target funding on a per head basis for heavy market ready hogs which cannot be sold for harvest and the meat case and are consequently euthanized and either rendered, buried, or composted. The legislation will also require ownership of the hogs as a condition for receiving indemnification.
Congressman King has been leading efforts in Congress to fight on behalf of the nation’s pork producers. On April 29, at the invitation of Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson, King took part in a press conference held in Worthington, Minnesota to draw attention to the pressures processing plant closures have forced on America’s farmers. King then went to the JBS plant to visit with some of the workers and to observe the euthanization process. Worthington is home to the JBS pork plant which closed for two weeks on April 21, and which has begun euthanizing healthy, market-ready hogs which have, so far, been shipped to rendering.
Related: King op-ed: Pork Producers want to feed the world, they don't want to bury a product.