Production concerns weigh on pork producers


Production concerns weigh on pork producers

Labor shortages, transportation bottlenecks and environmental regulations are among the top concerns for pork producers at the Nebraska Pork Expo.

Jared Lierman owns an 8,000 weaning operation near Beemer and tells Brownfield he would like to see the cap on applications in the H-2A visa program lifted to help supply seasonal workers.

“With pig production, there are no seasons. It’s all year round. You only have 10,000 applicants in the entire United States. It doesn’t go very far.

He says the H-2A program has 20,000 applications a year, but 10,000 are allocated to dairy farmers and would like workers to work year-round.

Russ Vering is a contract feeder and board member of the National Pork Producers Council. He says environmental regulations like California’s Proposition 12 could limit market access and lower pork prices.

“We can’t convert our entire industry fast enough to be able to move the amount of pork that can’t be shipped to California.”

Mark Wright of Wiechman Pig Company says some growers are struggling to get their product to market.

“Ports are another problem for getting our products out and exporting them. Transportation right now in the Midwest – we need more carriers to transport our animals.

And, they say, strengthening biosecurity efforts to protect against exotic animal diseases like African swine fever is also a priority.

Marjorie N. McClure