Earlier this week, a press release from Britain’s National Pig Association caused some mass panic for the meat-eating population when they warned of an ‘unavoidable’ global shortage of pork. Twitter and Facebook were abuzz with plans of hoarding hams, rationing ribs and even opening a bacon speakeasy.
Fortunately, American Farm Bureau Economist John Anderson says all this squealing is unnecessary. “Pork supplies will decrease slightly as we go into 2013, but the idea that there’ll be widespread shortages, that we’ll run out of pork, that’s really overblown.”
Yes, pork prices will rise – but only about 4 percent, which isn’t much more than an average year. U.S. pork supplies are predicted to drop just 1.3 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Due to the drought, the cost of feed – mainly corn and soybean meal – has increased, and many farmers (both hog and cattle) have downsized their herds as a result. Missouri hog farmer Chris Chinn says feed costs make up about 60 percent of the cost to raise a pig, and many farmers are unable to break even based on grocery store prices. But, “while there may be less pork on the market,” she says, “American farmers are still going to be bringing home the bacon.”