Lean hog futures shot over 90 cents per pound for the first time since 2014, a move that could hit backyard grillers in the gut going into the 4th of July weekend.
Prices have more than doubled over the last eight months as pork exports to foreign buyers have soared, especially to major buyers Mexico and South Korea. There had been concerns that President Trump’s desire to restrict foreign trade could hurt U.S. exports, but for now, global buyers are clamoring for bacon, chops, and ribs.
To meet the rising demand, U.S. hog producers have expanded their herds to record levels and are poised to expand further. Producers continue to increase their number of breeding sows, which are now rearing an average of 10.55 piglets per litter. The rising efficiency of U.S. hog operations has allowed fewer producers to make more pork for an increasingly meat-hungry globe.