May 5, 2020
Ag Products Backing Up In The System

During the weekly IDALS Livestock Teleconference this morning attended by AAI CEO Joel Brinkmeyer, commodity group representatives shared how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting meat, poultry, egg, and milk production in the state:

  • Pork processing is down 35% from the same time last year
  • Beef processing is down 38% from the same time last year
  • Dairy producers are targeting a 10% reduction
  • Egg flocks are being reduced by 20% or more

The backlog of animals will be causing issues both short term and long term, including changes in feed and reduction of herds. Commodity prices are low and supply is high, but the consumer is facing shortages as Wendy’s stops selling burgers at some stores and Costco limits meat buying. Tyson executives perhaps summed it up most succinctly in their recent description of the situation, “The food chain is broken.”

One small glimmer of positive news – though operating at a slower pace that normal, most packing plants in the state are currently functioning.
Pork Resource Center

Because of the extreme situation, Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship launched a Resource Coordination Center (RCC) to help Iowa livestock producers who have been impacted by the COVID-19 supply chain disruptions. The RCC is a collaboration with the Iowa Pork Producers Association (IPPA), the Iowa Pork Industry Center and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach.

Through the RCC, livestock industry experts, state agencies and technical specialists will help producers explore every option to harvest livestock and meet the protein needs of Iowans. The RCC will also connect producers with technical resources as they work through difficult and emotional decisions, including animal welfare euthanasia and disposal.

Iowa livestock producers can call the RCC at (515) 725-1005, Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 4:30 PM, or fill out a help form anytime at

COVID-19 has caused supply chain disruptions that are forcing producers to make emotional and stressful decisions. Anyone feeling overwhelmed by the current situation can call the Iowa Concern Hotline at 1-800-447-1985 to get free, confidential support, 24/7.
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