The pork industry is going through a devastating time that producers haven’t experienced in decades with lower prices and problems transporting hogs. Meat packing plants throughout the country are limiting capacity or shutting down until COVID-19 clears.
Many hogs are stuck in barns since packing plants are limited or closed. Some producers throughout the United States are resorting to culling some of their herd.
Brian and his wife, , who custom feed hogs in Parkston, S. D., decided to head online to try to make a profit. The two thought posting hogs for sale on Facebook would be a last resort. Now, they are saying the response is overwhelming.
“We are thinking [we’ve sold] 2,000 to 3,000 already,” Brian says.
His phone hasn’t stopped ringing. The trucks and trailers, some makeshift, have not stopped arriving.
“We’ve been so blessed. This message went coast-to-coast. We’ve had calls from Washington State, New York, North Dakota, Texas and Georgia,” says . “It’s been absolutely amazing, the support given to us as farmers.”
The two owned hogs through the 1990s hog crisis. That’s one reason they now custom-feed.
“We saw the 3 cent hogs,” says . “We went through that ugliness. That’s why we don’t own pigs anymore.”
Their packing plant is open but taking a limited number of loads. That’s because hogs are being rerouted there from closed plants. The two are giving the proceeds they receive to their hog producer. This is as Brian receives a check for custom-feeding and for trucking some of the hogs.
“[The hog owner] called me the next morning [after I posted] and said, ‘Brian, how’s it going up there?’ I said, ‘Terry, I can’t get nothing done. All I do is sit on the phone.’ I had 500 calls the first day.”
The two say going online is alleviating some stress during the uncertain times.
“We are very excited [to receive calls] from Idaho, New York and Kentucky, so [Brian] can get a little bit of his trucking income.”
Brian estimates he’s had more than 100 trailers in his yard.