As livestock processing plants continue to shut down across the country and outbreaks of COVID-19 take hold among factory workers, the damage to farmers and the livestock industry continues to mount.

For beef and pork producers, the numbers are shocking.

A study commissioned by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association estimated that losses for the beef sector could cost farmers, ranchers and feedlots more than $13.6 billion in 2020.  The study noted cow-calf operations could be hardest hit, losing as much as about $112 per head due to the pandemic. That adds up to $3.7 billion in losses, with the potential to lose much more over the course of this crisis without assistance.

The numbers for hogs are also high. 

A National Pork Producers Council commissioned study estimates hog farmers could lose nearly $37 per hog, or almost $5 billion collectively, for hogs...