UK: Pig farmers warn of bacon and pork shortages next year as feed price rockets

Pig farmers are warning of a shortage of bacon and pork next year because pig-feed has become unaffordable following disastrous growing and harvesting weather.

The National Pig Association is urging British shoppers to make a special effort to safeguard supplies of British bacon and pork by only buying packs carrying British farming’s own Red Tractor logo.

Around the world, pig farmers are selling their herds because they can no longer afford to feed their pigs, it says. In the United States the government has introduced a pork-buying programme in a bid to keep its pig farmers in business, and the Chinese government is putting pork into cold storage, as a buffer against shortages and high prices next year.

Pig industry leaders from across the European Union have met up in London to explore ways to ensure pork remains the world’s most affordable red meat. They reported that pig herds are being sold because prices are not rising fast enough in supermarkets to cover the cost of record-high pig-feed costs.

“It usually takes at least six months for higher production costs to filter through to shop prices — but pig farmers simply haven’t got that long,’ said National Pig Association chairman Richard Longthorp, who farms outdoor pigs in Yorkshire.

“Some have got only a few weeks left before they run out of credit at the bank and have to sell up, and this is happening all over Europe.’

“Pork has always been the affordable meat. It’s half the price of beef and lamb. We urgently need the retail price to go up by a modest amount to keep pig farmers in business, but we want it to remain the most affordable red meat.

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“Some forecasters believe the price will increase by over a third eventually. But we would rather see a more immediate, modest but sustainable rise that would allow producers to get into profit sooner thereby preventing the wholesale reduction in the pig herd with the inevitable record prices that would follow.”