CFTC economist outlines the serious situation facing the pork industry

As pork packing plants continue to slow down and, in some cases, shut down completely, hogs are backing up on farms.

Dave Amato, an economist with the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, outlines the seriousness of the situation.

“Normally we process about two-and-a-half million hogs per week. It’s estimated that, if the virus continues, we’ll be only able to process about two-point-one million. So that leaves about 400-thousand hogs per week backing up,” Amato says.

He says the total meat packing industry, including all species, is operating at about 60 percent of normal capacity.

“Currently about eight percent of U.S. packing capacity is offline and most plants are operating anywhere from 50 to 75 percent of normal production. A lot of that is due to employee absenteeism.”

About eight percent of milk production is being dumped, Amato says.

He made those comments during a virtual meeting of the CFTC’s Agricultural Advisory Committee.

AUDIO: Excerpt of Amato’s comments during the CFTC’s Ag Advisory Committee meeting
  • If this back up of animals has to be put down, can some of this go to zoo’s to feed their bears, wolves, big cats, and other meat eaters?

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