What is going on in the cattle market & how do we survive it? Friday finished another limit down day. How do we recover? Recap of the cash markets this week. What is the packers story from their side? Hogs also see a limit down trade. Talk of China recover from COVID-19 they will need the proteins. Drop in the corn market. Energy is pulling the market lower.
The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) International Union, which represents more than 250,000 meatpacking and food processing workers, announced agreements the union reached to increase pay and benefits for more than 6,300 Nebraska workers with Cargill in Nebraska City and Schuyler; Hormel in Fremont and JBS in Grand Island. The boost to pay and benefits represents a strong investment in these workers who are essential to protecting the U.S. food supply chain during the coronavirus outbreak. The increased pay and benefits will support more than 40,000 workers nationwide.
UFCW International President Marc Perrone released the following statement:
“After talks between America’s leading food companies and UFCW, the union representing more than 250,000 meatpacking and food processing workers, we are proud to support additional and critical pay and benefit increases for these workers who are essential to America’s food supply. These wage and benefit increases will not only protect the health and welfare of these hard-working men and women, they will help ensure all of America’s families have the food they need to overcome the public health crisis our nation faces.
“What these companies did shows real leadership. They worked together with our union family and they recognized the incredible hard work and sacrifices that our members and all meatpacking and food processing workers are making every single day.
“At a time of such national crisis, where food is so vital, we hope that this sends a message to every company in these industries – union and non-union – that it is time for every employer to do more to protect our food supply and the hardworking men and women keeping our communities stable and families fed.”
UFCW reached the following agreements to support meatpacking and food processing workers across the country:
- Cargill: Employees will receive a $2 per hour pay increase in effect between March 23 and May 5. Cargill will also strengthen worker safeguards with increased spacing in factory floor work areas, waive co-pays for coronavirus testing and treatment, and the ability to take time off for any coronavirus-related absences.
- Danone North America: Employees will receive a 15 percent pay increase and 80 hours of additional paid leave for coronavirus-related absences.
- Kraft Heinz: Employees who are required to quarantine will receive short-term disability benefits with waived waiting periods, waiver of co-pays for coronavirus medical care, and $100 weekly childcare subsidy for workers in districts where schools have closed.
- Pepsi: Employees will receive an additional 2 weeks paid leave for coronavirus-related absences and childcare assistance equal to at least two-thirds of their pay for up to 12 weeks or a $100 daily reimbursement if they have children enrolled in closed schools.
- Hormel: Employees are receiving a $300 bonus for working during this time frame.
- JBS: Employees who are UFCW members will receive a $600 bonus on May 15th.
- Maple Leaf Foods: Employees will receive additional $80 per week in premium pay.
- Campbell’s Soup: Employees will receive a $2 per hour pay increase during the outbreak.
- National Beef: Employees are receiving a $2 per hour pay increase between March 16 through May 10, 2 weeks paid leave if they are required to quarantine, waiver of co-pays for coronavirus medical care, and the ability to take time off for any coronavirus-related absences.
Grocery store shelves will soon be restocked with meat products in “another week or so.” Politico says that announcement comes from Tyson Foods CEO Noel White after a recent surge in demand for meat products. The U.S. has ample food supplies for those staying home under “social distancing” policies.
White says Tyson has made changes to its processing facilities to increase supplies for grocery stores instead of restaurants. “Once we are able to replenish supplies, which is probably going to take another week or so, then I think we’ll be back in better equilibrium between supply and demand,” White says. Grocery stores’ meat orders were significantly higher than usual through last week after demand began to shift away from restaurants. Slaughterhouses are running at maximum capacity, even on weekends.
The North American Meat Institute, which represents major meat packers, says the industry is taking steps to keep operations running at normal or increased capacity. Companies are also enhancing benefits like paid sick leave and access to health care to treat or detect the virus. Some of the enhancements include waiving copays or deductibles.
Beijing recently made U.S. poultry shipments eligible for exemptions from extra tariffs and poultry shipments to China are on the rise. A Reuters article points out that the additional tariff relief may give China a greater ability to follow through on promises to buy significantly more American agricultural goods as part of the Phase One trade deal.
U.S. chicken producer Tyson Foods says its chicken shipments are already rising as a result. China had said last month it would grant exemptions on retaliatory duties to 696 U.S. goods as part of its efforts to ease the trade war between the two largest economies in the world. Jim Sumner, President of the USA Poultry and Egg Export Council, says U.S. poultry wasn’t eligible for the exemptions until last week. “We’re now getting the product into the country without any retaliatory tariffs,” Sumner says.
Global meat and poultry suppliers are competing for sales to China, where an African Swine Fever outbreak has trimmed the hog herd by more than 40 percent, raising the need for protein imports. Beijing removed an almost five-year ban on U.S. poultry imports in November, which U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer says would mean an additional $1 billion in shipments to China every year. “We’re now on a level playing field with other poultry suppliers to China,” Sumner adds.