Farmers will have to kill tens of thousands of pigs a day because of closed processing facilities across the country, House Agriculture Chairman Collin Peterson said Monday.
Peterson said the nation's pork supply is now at serious risk because of the coronavirus pandemic.
With three of the nation's largest pork processing plants temporarily shut down, Peterson said that farmers now have a massive oversupply of pigs that must be euthanized — estimating that there are roughly 60,000 to 70,000 pigs a day that need to be killed in order to make space at farms.
This has created a logistical nightmare for farmers to figure out a way to move the pigs from their locations to other facilities, where they can be euthanized and then to find places to dispose of the carcasses, Peterson said.
"It’s just not easy to kill that many pigs and then find out what to do with them," Peterson told CNN.
Peterson predicted this move will have a serious impact on the nation's food supply, saying Americans could experience a significant shortage in pork in grocery stores by next week.
"I think you are going to see some grocery stores have shortages of pork next week," Peterson said, adding that if plants remain shuttered, "you can end up running out of pork completely."
Peterson said that he is having bipartisan talks with leaders of the House and Senate Agriculture panels to authorize more funding for the Agriculture Department's Commodity Credit Corporation, which distributes aid to farmers.
Peterson predicted without aid and if they can't get some of the plants up and running again, "hundreds of farmers could go bankrupt."