Months later, hog farmers still struggling with pains of drought

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Missouri News Horizon
— While the hot temperatures may be gone, the effects of this summer’s drought are still lingering with Missouri farmers.

The pain is shared throughout the state’s agriculture industry, and that include’s the state’s hog farmers. No, the bacon and pork chops will not be absent from the shelves, but the cost of feed for Missouri farmers hurts where it counts, which may transfer to consumers.

“Our feed costs make up about 60 percent of the cost to raise a pig, and market prices in the grocery stores are just not paying what the farmer needs to make or break even,” said Chris Chinn, a Shelby County hog farmer.

Chinn said farmers will hold on to what hogs they can and wait for prices to come back up. The American Farm Bureau expects prices for all meats to rise about four percent next year.

Jon Anderson, an economist at the Missouri Farm Bureau, said prices should soon bounce back.

“Pork supplies will decrease slightly as we go into 2013, but the idea that there’ll be widespread shortages that will run on pork, that’s really overblown,” he said.

Anderson sees about a four percent rise in pork prices at the grocery store in the next year, and he says that should be enough to help farmers sustain their herds.