Bacon lovers should savor buying the salty meat now. Experts say that in a year's time there will be less pork available, which will mean significantly higher prices at the supermarket.
Drought conditions this summer have driven up the cost of corn, a main source of feed for hogs. Farmers have been sending more animals to slaughter â?? including breeding sows â?? to reduce their herds and cut costs.
So right now, we have an oversupply of pork.
"Prices will remain stable and might even come down" this year, said Andy Dietrick, director of public relations for Indiana Farm Bureau. But by this time next year, when farmers will no longer be sending as many animals to slaughter, less pork will be available for market.
"As we get into next year and supply is low, demand remains steady and prices will go up," he said.
Farmer Greg Gunthorp of LaGrange, Ind., known for the heritage-breed pork he supplies to restaurants and specialty retailers, said he is not reducing his herd but expects consumers will see higher prices and "significantly less pork" by the end of next year.
"There's just not going to be enough pigs," Gunthorp said.
While consumers will face higher bacon prices â?? likely 5% to 7% higher by the second half of next year â?? they typically will continue to buy it, said Chris Hurt, Purdue Extension agricultural economist.
"People say, 'I don't care. So what if it's $5 a pound. I want bacon with my eggs,'" Hurt said. "The demand stays about the same."
Yikes! I love my bacon