May 19, 2020
Corn Consumption Increasing Among Pork Producers 

As pork producers attempt to mitigate issues caused by the backlog in livestock it is increasing their per animal corn usage. That was one of the items shared during the Secretary of Agriculture Livestock Teleconference Tuesday morning. 

Iowa Pork Producers Association CEO Pat McGonegle said that many of the rations for pork production look a lot like the 1950s as producers look to slow down the growth of their animals. This is increasing the average corn intake by two to three bushels per animal. Also, some depopulation is taking place, but it is not on a large scale and not like what is happening in Minnesota.  

Pork processing plants have increased production to 89 percent of slaughter at this time last year. Last week it was closer to 65 percent. It is a major improvement, but the glut of hogs continues to increase. Cattle processing also made gains and is now operating at roughly 75 percent capacity, which is better than the 65 percent last week. Also, of some help will be the expected Cooperative Interstate Agreement where participating smaller state inspected packing facilities will be able to ship meat across state lines. 

Some relief appears to be on the way for a portion of Iowa’s farmers from the USDA, but Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Mike Naig said he is pushing for help to all sectors, most notably eggs and ethanol, and would like to see a combination of direct payments to farmers and an indemnity for animals lost due to the market disruption from the coronavirus. 

The Agribusiness Association of Iowa is an invited member of the Livestock call and association staff take part in the call each week. Both AAI staff and AAI members also take part in the Agriculture Secretary’s Crop Production Call each Thursday. Updates from the Crop Production Call are provided in the Take Five. 
SBA Releases Details For PPP and Loan Forgiveness 

Late Friday, the SBA released much-anticipated guidance regarding the forgiveness component of Paycheck Protection Program loans. The guidance includes the forgiveness worksheet that borrowers will be required to fill out as well as information on the types of documentation that borrowers will need to maintain for purposes of supporting their claims for loan forgiveness.  

Detailed information can be found here.
Drive-Up Pesticide Testing Continues

The Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship is offering drive-up pesticide applicator exams this week in Des Moines, Fort Dodge, and Iowa City. Nine sessions took place on Tuesday and spaces are still available for Thursday, May 21, at all locations. 

Individuals will take the test in their automobiles to maintain social distancing guidelines to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Testing sessions will be held at 9 AM, 11 AM, and 1 PM. Each session has a limited number of available slots and preregistration is required. 

To register, visit Watch the site for additional testing dates and locations. 

USDA Coronavirus Food Assistance Program Offers Much Needed Support for Ag Community

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced details of the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program (CFAP) which will provide up to $16 billion in direct payments to deliver relief to America’s farmers and ranchers impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. 

In addition to this direct support to farmers and ranchers, USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box program is partnering with regional and local distributors. It will assist producers with additional adjustment and marketing costs resulting from lost demand and short-term oversupply for the 2020 marketing year caused by COVID-19, according to USDA. 

Applying for Assistance 

Producers can apply for assistance beginning on May 26, 2020. Additional information and application forms are available at Producers of all eligible commodities will apply through their local FSA office here

Mental Health Resources

Iowa Farm Bureau Federation has released two episodes in a 3-part podcast series on managing farm stress amid COVID-19. The series features Dr. Larry Tranel, an ISU Extension dairy specialist and a pastoral psychologist with 30-plus years working with farm families.

Additionally, resources are available to help those who are struggling in these challenging times, including those listed below: 

New ISU Website Tracks the Effects of COVID-19

Researchers in the Iowa State University Center for Agricultural and Rural Development (CARD) and Department of Economics are examining the effect of COVID-19 on local, regional, and global economies. ISU has created a website to share findings. Graphs, tables, and charts showing community mobility, unemployment, and beef and pork prices are currently available. 

Visit for the latest information.

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