Just when pork producers expected things to turn around, someone decided our newest health scare should include the word "swine."
How bad is it? According to Purdue University Extension economist Chris Hurt, Western Cornbelt hog prices fell 16% between April 24 and May 4. Eastern Cornbelt prices fell 13% during the same time period. When I spoke to him earlier this week, he said this means producers are taking about a $20 per head loss.
According to Hurt, if H1N1 is short lived and the media "forgets" about it by mid-May, producers are still looking at June before prices turn around. Mind you, this is a best-case scenario. The biggest problem is coming from a decrease in pork exports, a result of 18 countries panicking when it comes to pork consumption.
As if they really needed this. Just when hog farmers thought things couldn't get any worse, PETA has used the misinformation surrounding H1N1 to urge Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to ban any new factory farms in the state.
Look at the inflammatory language included in PETA's letter.
"The proliferation of factory farms in Illinois could make the state the next 'ground zero' for a deadly disease outbreak," says PETA Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman. "Meat has long been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and certain types of cancer, but everyone--even people who've made the smart and compassionate choice not to eat meat--are put at risk by disease-breeding factory farms."
That's quite the statement. Now excuse me. With Mother's Day just around the corner, I promised my wife dinner. FYI, we're having grilled pork tenderloin.
By the way, don't let the late planting season delay you in calling your mother this Sunday.