DES MOINES, IOWA (April 27, 2020) – Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig today announced several initiatives underway to assist Iowa pork producers impacted by meat processing plant closures related to COVID-19.
“The disruptions at the meat processing facilities have a ripple effect on the entire livestock industry and food supply chain,” said Secretary Naig. “We are working to get Iowa livestock producers the technical and financial resources they need as they look at all options to market and care for their animals.”
State-Level Resources Coordination Center
The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship has launched a Resources Coordination Center (RCC) to provide technical resources to pork producers impacted by meat processing plants that are running at limited capacity or have shut down.
The RCC brings public and private resources together to explore every option to help producers harvest livestock and meet the protein needs of Iowans. However, livestock farmers may need to explore euthanasia as a last resort to prevent animal welfare issues. Through the RCC, the Department is working with the Iowa Pork Producers Association, the Pork Industry Center and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach to provide technical assistance to impacted pork producers. Additional details will be released in the coming days.
Coordination with USDA-APHIS
The Department last week requested technical and financial assistance from the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). The requested financial assistance would help livestock producers recover a portion of the euthanasia and disposal costs they may incur due to disruptions in the supply chain.
“We appreciate USDA’s announcement on Friday to launch a coordination center to help bring needed resources to the states,” said Secretary Naig. “We will continue to work with our federal partners to implement solutions that meet the needs of Iowa livestock producers.”
Meeting Protein Needs of Iowans
Through “Pass the Pork,” the Department is working with the Iowa Pork Producers Association to help Iowa pig farmers donate pigs to Iowa food bank feeding programs. Local meat processors are extending their hours of operation to process and package the pork donations to help meet the growing demand for food bank and food pantry resources. Iowa food banks are getting the pork into the hands of those in need.
“At a time when Iowa pig farmers face market challenges and supply chain disruptions, they continue to look for opportunities to help those in need,” said Secretary Naig. “We are proud to partner with Iowa pig farmers, food banks, and meat processors to ensure all Iowans have access to a locally produced, high-quality protein source.”