Hayes: Farmers damaged in fall without more aid

June 23, 2020

Dr. Dermot HayesDermot Hayes, professor, was interviewed for a June 23 Des Moines Register story, "Farmers hoping for more COVID-19 aid from Congress."

The biggest coronavirus impact will come this fall, when farmers harvest their crops, experts say. Prices for corn, soybeans, pigs and cattle are below the cost to produce them.

“Market prices for this year’s crop have fallen tremendously,” said Dermot Hayes, an Iowa State agricultural economist.

“It looks truly awful,” he said. “Everybody who has corn and soybeans in the ground right now is going to be damaged” if another round of assistance isn’t provided.

In a June 24 Today story, "After warning of meat shortages, companies exported record amounts of pork to China."

Dermot Hayes, a professor of economics and finance at Iowa State University, told TODAY that China usually buys about 10-12% of all pork produced in the U.S., but the country imports pork products that many Americans don't consume, like feet, as well as carcass meat.

“China buys carcass meat because they have the labor and facilities (to) cut and debone the product," Hayes said. “These products are not in demand here and when China is not buying we render them.”

Hayes reiterated that what consumers experienced as meat shortages in some cases wasn’t due to a scarcity of animals, but rather it was the lack of available labor to turn these animals into retail-ready meat U.S. consumers actually purchase.

“The problem was so bad that some farmers had to euthanize pigs even though meat was being rationed," he said.

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