Due to a major draught, the price of feed soared to the highest level on record this past August. Farmers can literally no longer afford to feed their livestock and sell it at a profit. While huge corporate distributors like Hormel and Tyson are still making a profit, many small farmers are not so lucky.
It’s not just a problem in the U.S. either. Russia, a major world producer of grain, has also been hit hard with draught. Canada leads the world in the exports of live piggies. That country’s two largest growers just went pork belly up.
In a rush to liquidate livestock in the U.S., 9.9 million hogs were hauled to the slaughter in early August – more than in any one month in history. By the end of August, 31% more pork was produced that at the same time last year. September is also seeing record numbers. According to a whole slew of reports, this glut in “the other white meat,” is supposed to slash prices on pork products – for now. Next year, prices are expected to skyrocket.
Bearing this in mind, folks are rushing out to stock up their freezers with bacon, ham and ye olde pork chops. if you want to join the herd, there are some good deals out there. There are also some prices that are not changing, and even going up already. My sister in Albuquerque noticed that a pound of bacon out there at local chain John Brooks went up precipitously. Not surprising maybe, since John Brooks cuts their own meat and buys locally out there.
Here in Los Angeles, Ralphs’ twelve ounce package of their Private Selection brand of Center Cut bacon is going for $3.99. Oscar Meyer’s Center Cut of the same size is $6.99. So is a package of Farmer Johns.
The pricing on Hormel is an interesting story. At Ralphs, Oscar Meyer and Farmer John were not on sale – a straight $6.99 – take it or leave it. Hormel, on the other hand, is $3.99, but it usually goes for $7.99. In fact, you can even get Hormel’s uncured bacon for the same price. Uncured usually costs more. Apparently Hormel is standing by its forecast of continued unprecedented profits in spite of the havoc in the wake of the draught. This quarter, the company enjoyed a 32% jump in operating profit due to the sale of Spam.
Smart and Final had the same pricing as Ralphs except that you can get two pounds of Farmer Johns or their First Street brand for $6.99.
Jons Market has Farmer Johns for $5.99; and, this week, they have a special (surprise!) on Farmland bacon of 2 for $6.
For my peeps around the U.S., the parent company for Ralphs is Kroger. In New Mexico it is Smiths. In other states it may be Dillons, Bakers, City Market, Fred Meyer, King Soopers and Frys to name a few of the many chains bought up by Kroger.