Rumors of the possible bacon shortage, dubbed the “aporkalypse” by comedian Stephen Colbert, sizzled across TV and computer screens recently after a press release from Britain’s National Pig Association said “a world shortage of pork and bacon next year is now unavoidable.”
The good folks in Britain must have a rather narrow world view, because pork supplies in the United States are projected to remain relatively stable.
The British press release says pig farmers have been plunged into loss by high pig-feed costs, which is true enough. Economists say U.S. pig farmers could be looking at greater losses than they experienced in 1998, when hog prices fell to almost nothing.
But, as a group, U.S. hog farmers have faced high feed prices before, adapted and survived. They are expected to meet this latest crisis with the same kind of resolve.
The USDA projects pork supplies will drop only about 1.3 percent next year. That’s a far cry from herd reductions of up to 13 percent reported in the European Union’s key swine-raising countries.
Perhaps a bigger problem in the EU are unrelenting government regulations, which dictate how farmers must raise their pigs. There is little evidence the regulations have achieved their intended goal of improving animal welfare. If fact, evidence shows EU farmers are seeing higher pig mortality, in addition to higher costs, Denmark ag minister Steen Steensen told a group of Iowa farmers who recently visited the Danish embassy in Washington D.C.
Meanwhile, U.S. farmers show their commitment to producing safe food and protecting animal welfare every day without the need for government intervention through voluntary programs like the National Pork Producers Council’s We Care initiative. You can learn more about the program at www.porkcares.org.
Or, take a virtual tour of an Iowa crop or livestock farm and register for a chance to win $5,000 in groceries at www.farmersfeedus.org/ia.
That’ll buy a lot of bacon.
Written by Tom Block
Tom is Spokesman News Ccoordinator for the Iowa Farm Bureau.