Swine feed prices could raise prices on pork

KINGSPORT, Tenn. - It might not be as easy to pig out next year -- according to the National Pig Association in Britain the supply of feed is declining, resulting in a decline of herds.

Bacon, sausage and ham are all products of swine that could rise in price in 2013.

Hog farmers, like Tony Slaughter, are finding the price for feed is rising after the drought this summer caused a shortage in soybeans and corn.

Slaughter says it could force some to raise their prices on meat. "We haven't went up this year and I hope we don't have to go up on our prices. I know for a lot of folks it's just tough," said Slaughter.

He says there are fewer than four hog farmers left in east Tennessee. "In the state of Tennessee there's probably not a dozen. All hogs now are produced by corporations, not by farmers," said Slaughter.

News learned the number of pigs being slaughtered could fall 10 percent next year, doubling the price of pork because of the cost of feed. "It's about $8.50 a bushel and I paid $7.12 for a ton of soy bean mill. Once you pencil that in, it makes for a very expensive feed," said Slaughter.

With around 130 pigs on his farm, we learned he goes through 200 bushels a week. Slaughter says he wants the pigs to be at least 350 pounds before taking them to be processed; to reach that weight could take up to seven months.

Slaughter says there is no way around it. "If you're going to finish them properly and if you're going to feed hogs to produce the right quality product, you have to feed them corn and soy bean mill," he said. "There's no option."

According to the Department of Agriculture, the U.S. pork supply soared last month, rising 31 percent from 2011.

We also learned that supermarkets are being urged to pay swine farmers a fair price for the meat to help cover drought-related costs.

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