According to this Reuters article, "Hog producers have lost, on average, nearly $23 for each hog marketed since September 2009, 'and things look bleak going forward,' said NPPC president Don Butler at House Agriculture subcommittee hearing."
You might want to blame this porcine problem on idiots who believe that they'll contract H1N1 from ham, but the National Pork Producers Council website actually says that the industry has lost $23 per hog since September, 2007. What? Amidst the greatest outpouring of love for the humble pig by restaurant chefs, television food celebrities and people like me, pig ain't selling?
Actually, sales haven't been the real problem until recently. Grain prices started rising dramatically during the international food crisis that started a couple of years ago, thanks to the rise of environmentally unstable bio-fuels. And that grain makes up 60 percent of the cost of raising a hog, according to the NPPC. Add in a ban on U.S. pork imports by China and Russia — ostensibly because of H1N1, but more likely political maneuvering — and the industry suffers.
Why, you may ask, should I care?