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Why It's Costing Americans Up to 20 Percent More to Bring Home the Bacon

Deadly porcine epidemic diarrhea has a nearly 100 percent mortality rate in young pigs, causing steep declines in pig populations and steeper inclines in prices at the grocery counter.

It could cost Americans 20 percent more to get their bacon fixes as a deadline virus sweeps through the nation's hog barns. (Patch file photo)
It could cost Americans 20 percent more to get their bacon fixes as a deadline virus sweeps through the nation's hog barns. (Patch file photo)

By Beth Dalbey

Americans’ love affair with bacon is about to get more expensive.

The porcine epidemic diarrhea (PED) virus has wiped out baby pigs at an alarming rate in 27 pork-producing states, meaning it could cost Americans 20 percent more to get their bacon fix.

PED is  fairly common and isn’t a health hazard to humans, Michigan Pork Producers Association Executive Vice President Vice President told WWJ/The Associated Press,

Mature hogs can recover from it, but piglets less than a month old suffer such severe diarrhea that they dehydrate.

In Michigan alone, the virus has wiped out piglets on 93 farms.

“There’s nearly 100 percent mortality with pigs less than three weeks of age,” Hines said.

The virus has killed millions of piglets in less than a year, resulting in a 7 percent decline in the pork supply. At the grocery counter, that will translate to increases of 10 to 20 percent, Hines said.

The pork industry has committed $1.7million to research how the virus, never before seen in the U.S., spread so quickly to after it was reported in the nation’s top pork-producing states –  Iowa, Minnesota, North Carolina and Illinois. Scientists think it may have come from China, but they’re not sure how it got into the country. PED has also spread to pig herds in Canada and Mexico.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the pig kill reduced the nation’s pig herd by about 3 percent – or 63 million pigs.

pound of bacon averaged $4.90 in March, a 13 percent increase from the year prior, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
mark April 18, 2014 at 08:16 AM
With prices rising in all industries, I call it the disease of liberal Democrats! And it is the disease that will wipe out civilization!
mark April 18, 2014 at 08:23 AM
When taxes are imposed on various industries then to stay in business the prices increase on the consumer! Obamacare , gas taxes, payroll taxes, tolls, the proposed soda and candy tax , your tobacco tax is 75% of what the product really costs! Commercial Property tax increases! Do you people see what's going on here? This country is being destroyed by the Democrats! It is starting to resemble The a Soviet Union! We should change the name of this country to the USSA!
all-c-ing-eye April 18, 2014 at 03:14 PM
And all this time i thought it was Pork Barrel spending.
JBrad April 19, 2014 at 02:57 PM
Mark, Your words are absolutely disgusting. Please do not use this comment thread as a vehicle to spew your racist mentality. And for your information, food-borne illnesses come from agriculture, period. All around the world, including in the U.S. Lastly, your hatred for people of colour does not mean that you understand disease, at all. Good luck in life.
Eric Wessels May 07, 2014 at 11:16 AM
If you really are worried about pork: It has come to my attention, much too late to do anything about it probably, that there is a hog confinement proposed to be constructed within 1 mile of my home. This is not an uncommon occurrence in the state of Iowa. In fact there are 10 homes within 1 mile of this proposed facility, some just ½ mile away. I have looked at the manure management plan and one poor family will have manure spread on three sides of their property throughout the year. Of course this proposed facility is under the limit of 2500 hogs to require a permit by 20 hogs, so no one was notified. They will run 2 sets of hogs through the facility each year, 4960 hogs. This will produce over 660,000 gallons of liquid waste to be stored in a 270’ long, 70’ wide, 8’ deep lagoon. The manure will all be spread in section 13 of the Adel Township in Dallas County. My secondary concern (my primary concern is my family) is for others impacted and the county as a whole. This is terrible planning. The proposed facility lies in the center between Adel, Waukee, and Dallas Center. Dallas County is the second fastest growing county in the country. Waukee builds a new school every year. The Waukee soccer complex is a short 3.5 mile drive south. The proposed new county facilities would be 3 miles away. There is a church on highway 6 less than 3 miles away. The parking lot for the bike trail in Waukee is less than 3 miles away. The bike trail from Waukee to Dallas Center that was just completed, and is well used, is less than 100 yards. All of these items are outside the limits set by the legislature, but all will be affected. The county web site has maps indicating the entire core from Waukee to Adel and DC is anticipated residential with a regional commercial core where this is located. The long range planning has a western bypass that ties into the highway 5 bypass going right by this facility less than half a mile. Maybe this is what they mean by regional commercial. The map shows a 3/4 mile swath from R16 to R22 just north of 270th street. In a conversation I had w/ the county, it was stated this owner plans to build several (no number or location was given) in Dallas County. He can put facilities of this size every ½ mile without a permit because they will all be considered individual units under the size required to be permitted. I can’t believe this is what the citizens of Dallas County want, or what the planning organizations spend their time working on simply to be ignored. The problem primarily lies in the fact that local control is not allowed. In almost every other aspect of governance, local control is preferred and advocated for by the Iowa legislature. Big Ag controls the legislature and the DNR. Talk to your rep. Talk to your senator. Get local control for issues that affect you and your neighbors.

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