CHICAGO, Oct 1 (Reuters) - Smithfield Foods Inc, the largest U.S. meat packer, notified hog producers on Tuesday that it will adjust its pricing method for hogs until the federal government reopens.
Smithfield prices live hogs based on U.S. Department of Agriculture market reports, which have been suspended.
"We need to address how we will handle any valuation that is calculated using a quote from a USDA publication," Smithfield said in a letter to hog producers.
The USDA, which issues thousands of market reports that the agriculture industry uses to price everything from hogs and cattle to soybeans and corn, pulled the plug on those reports during the federal government shutdown.
Smithfield said it will determine the price it pays for cash hogs based on USDA market hog prices on Sept. 30 for each day until the government reopens through Oct. 4.
If the shutdown extends beyond Oct. 4, Smithfield said it would "evaluate the market conditions to establish a fair market value."
"All packers will continue to record all trades to be compliant with Mandatory Price Reporting, and will be sending those trades to the USDA," Smithfield added. But the government has said it "will not retroactively report the daily spot market for days their office is closed."