Pigged Out.

first_imgThis year, odds are most pork products you buy at the grocerystore will not be made from hogs raised in Georgia. According to a report released by the Georgia Agricultural StatisticsService, there are 100,000 fewer hogs on Georgia farms than oneyear ago.Steady DeclineGeorgia was a leading pork-producing state. At one time, there was a good chance the sausage, ham or baconyou bought came from hogs raised in Georgia. In 1997, about 750,000 hogs contributedabout $693 million to the state’s economy. Not anymore.Now, only about 380,000 hogs or pigs can be found on Georgia farms.Fewer Georgia farmers are making a living growing pork.John McKissick, an economist with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, says the reasonis simple and has been happening for several years.”(Georgia is) losing more and more production capacity becausewe don’t have markets,” McKissick said.It appears that the decline in Georgia pork production will continue.”We’ve lost markets for hogs in the Southeast, and we continueto have concern for the ones remaining,” he said.Most hogs grown in Georgia have to be shipped out of state tobe processed into consumer products. The shipment is an extracost to growers. Often, this extra cost is not worth the returnfor the growers.Overall, McKissick says, the U.S. pork industry rebounded slightlyin 2000. Low feed cost, stronger demand and a moderate decreasein supply improved profits for growers. However, the profits madeduring 2000 will not offset the estimated $4.4 billion the industrylost between 1997 and 2000.In 2000, consumer demand for pork, particularly bacon, was on the rise. Bacon prices reached record levels during the first partof 2000. The average price of a pound of bacon was about 17 percenthigher than in 1999.last_img

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