The Department of Agriculture Monday announced a new program to assist hog producers who faced reduced market prices due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Spot Market Hog Pandemic Program is part of USDA’s Pandemic Assistance for Producers initiative and addresses gaps in previous assistance for hog producers. The program assists hog producers who sold hogs through a negotiated sale from April 16, 2020, through September 1, 2020. USDA is offering the program as packer production was reduced by the COVID-19 pandemic due to employee illness and supply chain issues, resulting in fewer negotiated hogs being procured and subsequent lower market prices. Payments will be calculated by multiplying the number of head of eligible hogs, not to exceed 10,000 head, by the payment rate of $54 per head. FSA will issue payments to eligible hog producers as applications are received and approved. Eligible hog producers can apply starting December 15, 2021, by contacting their local USDA Service Center.