New Podcast Series Starts with Focus on Disruptions to Pork Supply Chain

The pork you had for dinner last night? Farmers began working on it a year ago. But much has changed since then. The first episode of Farms, Food and You, a podcast series from NC State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, looks at how slowdowns at processing plants could affect farmers and consumers for months to come.

The episode is the first in a series being piloted by NC State University’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

The series focuses on issues of concern agriculture and related industries and for consumers. Upcoming topics include the reopening of North Carolina restaurants, university programs to enhance farmworker health and safety in light of COVID-19 and the apparent surge in interest in local foods.

The host is Dee Shore, a longtime NC State writer whose focus has been on agriculture, food, the environment and the life sciences.

For the first episode on the impact of processing plant slowdowns in the pork supply chain, guests include James Lamb, a Sampson County pig farmer who also works for Prestage Farms; NC State swine specialist Jon Holt; and Kelly Zering, an agricultural economist at the university.

Lamb, Holt and Zering agree that the disruptions taking place today in the pork supply chain could affect farmers and consumers for months to come. And Zering says the ramifications could be even deeper and more long-lasting.

“As we think about the future impacts and the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, we can imagine that many processes and every aspect of human activity will be redesigned to make them more resilient to disease outbreaks, like this one, pig production and pork production are no exception to that general rule. Some redesign of infrastructure and standard practices (are) already occurring in pork processing plants and in pig production systems, and longer-term changes will certainly occur,” he says.

To find out more about the podcast or to listen, visit go.ncsu.edu/farms.