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Pork Problems Ahead

by chew.com
​Recent droughts that have resulted in a lack of adequate feed stocks for pig farmers are expected cause the price of pork products to double worldwide within the next year.

The recent and lengthy droughts that occurred across much of the world this year are having a far reaching, yet indirect impact on the price and future availability of all pork products. Food industry observers are saying that there will be an unavoidable bacon shortage and significantly increased prices of all pork products over the next six to 12 months because of the droughts that ravaged feed stock crops across the regions that produce most of the world’s pork. The reduced supplies of available feed for swine herds has naturally also pushed up the prices of what feed is available now and those farmers who raise pigs have dramatically thinned their herds in response.

Although the idea of a bacon shortage might sound funny to some, it really won’t be much of a laughing matter for consumers around the world when the price of pork products doubles in the coming year. Many media outlets are having fun with the news though, as they employ obvious pork puns to spread the news. Headlines proclaiming “Save Our Bacon” and terms like “Porkpocalypse” have already shown up in countless newspapers and online media. However, organizations representing the pig farming industry like the UK’s National Pig Association are taking a more serious approach and note that a worldwide shortage of pork and bacon next year is already unavoidable and that that the number of slaughtered pigs could drop by 10% in the second half of 2013, which will probably cause the price of all pork products to double. The same group also points out that a drop of just 2% in the number of swine harvested next tear is all that is needed to cause retail pork prices to rise by as much as 10% for the end user.

Unfortunately for those consumers who love pork, the reduction in the total numbers of pigs raised worldwide is likely to be a lot more than 2% as prices of pig-feed have skyrocketed following the double whammy of the disastrous drought-related feed stock growing season as well as equally bad weather for pig harvesting. The global failure of the corn and soy feed stock harvests hit the top pig producing nations like the U.S and Russia the hardest, but all pig-producing countries are now reporting shrinking herds, with the numbers falling in places like Denmark, France, Austria and Sweden too. The droughts have affected more food supplies than just the world’s swine industry as the price of cattle feed has also risen drastically in recent months. The rising scarcity of cattle feed in the U.S. has led to some unusual solutions as cattlemen in this country are reported to be resorting to feeding their cows a novel new diet of weird items like cookies, marshmallows and dried cranberries in an attempt to replace the sugar content found in their normal diet of corn feed. Although the looming threat of a coming worldwide pork shortage may give devoted pork fans a valid excuse to stock up on their pork supplies or go on bacon eating binges right now before the prices double, at this time next year there may not be enough pork in the stores to satisfy their cravings.

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