Pork’s Plight: Challenging Times for the Pork Industry

Feb 16, 2024

Unfortunately for the pork industry, not everyone had Michael Scott’s level of love for bacon in 2023.



Low piggy bank: Pork producers are sow efficient in producing their products that the demand can’t keep up with the supply. The demand for pork in the U.S. is 9% lower than it was 20 years ago, but farmers are producing 25% more than they were two decades ago.



A series of un-porcine-ite events: The events of 2023 were compared to the pork world in 1998—when hog prices were down into the single digits, resulting in huge losses. Economists say pork producers lost more money per head in 2023 than they did in 1998, largely due to increased input costs. An Iowa State University economist said pork producers lost an average of $32 per hog last year. There’s hope this year will be better with lower feed and fuel prices, but it still won’t be great.



Fixing the sitch: There are conversations about how to fix the demand issue—from new overseas markets and education about how to correctly cook pork, to breeding pigs to add some fat into the meat. The sad part is some say the nation’s sow herd needs to decrease by 6-10% to get the industry back to being profitable.

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