The National Pork Producers Council has released comments highly critical of USDA’s consideration of extending rural development loans to ethanol plants. Some plants are struggling financially due to decisions made earlier in the year to lock in corn prices at higher levels than are currently available.
“Many pork producers used prudent risk management but encountered cost concerns, yet there has been no relief offered to them,” says Neil Dierks, NPPC chief executive officer. “Pork producers just want to be able to compete on an equal footing with other users of corn.”
“Anything that has even the appearance of a bailout for an industry that already is being propped up through government production mandates, tax credits and import tariffs is a slap in the face to all of animal agriculture and is anathema to our free enterprise system,” says Dierks. Recent estimates indicate that U.S. pork producers have lost nearly $3 billion of equity in their operations over the past year.
NPPC has renewed its request for eliminating or significantly reducing government support programs for the ethanol industry. Additionally, NPPC again calls on USDA to create a task force to address the negative consequences of ethanol mandates on feed prices.
“Finally, while some believe this will be a banner year for agriculture, it certainly will not be for the livestock industry, and we would hope that policy-makers in Washington remember that,” concludes Dierks.