Hog producers say they are facing an economic crisis caused by soaring livestock feed costs and need higher swine prices to survive. They say they have lost between $30 and $50 a head for each pig marketed. The Agriculture Department says it will buy up to 50 million dollars of pork sausage for child nutrition and other domestic food assistance programs. The agency says move is meant to help poor families struggling with high grocery tabs. But it will also help hog producers by reducing the sow herd.
The industry says it needs to cull 10 percent of sows to be profitable. But economists say that could raise retail pork prices by 10 to 15 percent. The Kansas Pork Association says the state's hog industry was losing 10 million dollars a month in equity.
Kansas represents about 2.5 percent of the nation's hog production, selling more than 3 million head of market hogs a year valued at 400 million dollars.