Last week, bacon lovers around the world received some bad news. A report from Britain’s National Pig Association on September 20 warned of a global pork shortage. The news sent bacon enthusiasts into a frenzy. But fans of the salty breakfast meat can rest easy. There will be plenty of pork products on supermarket shelves, but their price will increase slightly.
The Pig Problem
News of a pork shortage began sizzling after a report claimed that pig herds around the world are “declining at a significant rate.” The report also said that the high price of corn, which is used to feed pigs, is hurting farmers. Britain’s National Pig Association, a group that supports farmers, issued the report. Richard Longthorp, the group’s chairman, declared the problem “unavoidable.”
Pork-buying programs have been created to help keep pig farmers in business. The National Pig Association started a campaign called “Save Our Bacon.” It encourages people to buy bacon from nearby stores to support local farmers.
The High Cost of Corn
SAUL LOEB—AFP/GETTY IMAGES
Due to the drought, the price of corn for pig feed has risen
The drought in the United States is a big part of the problem. A drought is a period of dry weather. Crops such as corn and soybeans that grow in Midwestern states were among the hardest hit. Because there is less of it, the price of corn has risen. This makes it more expensive for farmers to raise their herds. This increase in cost has caused the price of bacon and other pork products to increase by as much as 10%.
The bottom line? Bacon lovers will feel the effects on their pocketbooks, rather than their stomachs.
“If the definition of shortage is that you can’t find it on the shelves, then no, the concern is not valid. If the concern is higher cost for it, then yes, [the concern is valid],” said Steve Meyer of the National Pork Producers Council, in Washington, D.C.