International farmers: It may become harder to 'bring home the bacon'


by Bryan Baker

Posted on September 25, 2012 at 6:30 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 25 at 6:41 PM

HODGENVILLE, Ky. -- Soon you might be forking over more money to have bacon and sausage on your plate.

Across the pond in Great Britain pork costs have risen to the point where there is currently a bacon and sausage shortage. The United Kingdom National Pig Association surprised some bacon and pork fanatics when it warned a worldwide shortage of the mouth-watering meat is "unavoidable" in 2013.
But Kentuckiana farmers say "shortage" is a strong word and the problems Europe is facing food-wise won't have a major impact on the United States.
Caleb Ragland is the ninth generation of a family farming on the same Hodgenville land since 1808. But Shady Rest Farms hasn't seen a summer this dry in decades.
"We didn't have any rainfall on this farm from May 31st to the 11th of July," said Ragland.
That affects the corn Ragland raises for grain just to feed the 75,000 pigs on his farm. Without the rain the corn yield is 30-35 percent of normal. Less corn means higher costs for grain which means higher production costs to produce meat from the pigs.
"We're looking at six months of just devastating losses," Ragland added.
He said he's losing big money and has to tighten his belt by reducing his profit margin.
"We're looking at cost of production right now for pork being around 75 cents a pound," said Ragland. "Right now the market is 54 cents today."
Next year, he expects you will pay more to buy pork along with beef and chicken. But he says any talk of a pork shortage is a scare tactic.
"I promise you I can produce you all the pork that you want," said Ragland.
For prices to drop on store shelves, he says demand needs to rise. That means you need to crave a little more pork on your plate.
The Indiana Pork Producers Association says farmers are cutting down on pig herds to stay in business. They say there will be less pork to go around next year but that it will not amount to a shortage.