Pork Payday Arrives

Jul 29, 2022

Eligible pork producers are about to be living high off the hog.

With the go-ahead from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, funding for the Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program (SMHPP) is increasing. The USDA will issue approximately $62.8M in pandemic assistance payments this week to eligible producers who sold hogs through the spot market from April 16 – Sept. 1, 2020.

The backstory: Packer production declined due to the COVID-19 pandemic, leading to fewer negotiated hogs and lower market prices. SMHPP was the USDA’s attempt to bridge the gaps in financial assistance for hog producers. Originally, the FSA planned to apply a payment factor if the payments exceeded the $50M allotted for pandemic assistance.

Bringing in the bacon: Now, though, the Farm Service Agency (FSA) increased funding for SMHPP to full payments instead of applying the payment factor. Payments will be calculated by the number of head of eligible hogs (as long as it’s less than 10,000) x a $54 payment rate.

Soundbite: “Producers forced into spot market hog sales are still challenged by the market disruptions of COVID-19, and these funds will contribute to the ongoing recovery of the U.S. pork industry,” said Terry Wolters, National Pork Producers Council (NPPC) president and owner of Stoney Creek Farms in Pipestone, Minn.