Coming soon: Pork and bacon shortage
A British pork industry group is predicting serious shortages next year that are now "unavoidable."
A world shortage of pork and bacon next year is "now unavoidable," a British industry group said in a press release.
Britain's National Pig Association (NPA) says that pig herds in Europe are shrinking. As if that isn't bad enough, this trend is "being mirrored around the world," the group says in the release. Drought conditions, especially in the U.S. and Russia, have taken a toll on the price of the grain crops used for animal feed, and world food prices are expected to reach record highs in 2013.
The number of slaughtered pigs could drop by as much as 10 percent in the second half of next year, the NPA says. This would double the price of European pork and pork products.
The NPA is advising supermarkets to pay Britain's pig farmers a fair price to counter the high price of feed or "risk empty spaces on their shelves next year," said NPA chairman Richard Longthorp.
In the United States, CBS Chicago reports that the price of pork belly has increased to $1.40 a pound in August, up from June's price of 94 cents a pound.
The pork belt in the Midwest - Iowa, Illiinois, and Missouri - suffered greatly this summer from drought. But right now, it appears that speculators have driven up the price of bellies (from which bacon is made) in anticipation of the shortages that will appear next year. The LA Times is reporting that farmers have sold off a large percentage of their herds because it is too expensive to feed them. The shortages could double the price per pound for pork by next summer.
Thomas Lifson adds:
The reason it is too expensive to feed pigs is because such a large part of our corn crop goes to subsidized ethanol, which is required to be blended with gasoline. Yes, there has been a drought in the Midwest, but without the ethanol mandate there would be much lower prices. Our ethanol policy is driving up corn prices worldwide. As long as Iowa is a swing state, the ethanol mandate is likely to survive, even as it makes it more expensive for families to pay their grocery bills.