banner
Business

N.C. pork producers seeing flu's impact on business

Posted November 4, 2009

Map Marker  Find News Near Me

— As more pigs test positive for the H1N1 virus, North Carolina's pork industry continues to take an economic hit.

A commercial hog herd in Indiana tested positive this week for the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced Wednesday. Several show pigs at the Minnesota State Fair contracted the virus last month.

The name “swine flu” and misconceptions about the virus have caused a hardship for the nation's $15 billion pork industry.

“We simply were the victims of a bad name,” said Neil Strother, owner of Strother Swine Farms in Wilson County.

Strother said the H1N1 virus has scared many people away from pork products. People somehow became confused into thinking they could catch the virus from pork.

"Absolutely, complete misinformation was out there,” Strother said.

Farmers hurting from 'swine flu' fall out Farmers hurting from 'swine flu' fall out

Agricultural officials have stressed that the virus is not food-borne and that people should not fear consuming pork products.

"There has never been a case of this new pandemic, H1N1, ever being transmitted from animals to humans,” said Dr. Tom Ray, a veterinarian and North Carolina director of livestock health.

Ray confirmed Wednesday that there have also been no cases of H1N1 being transmitted by eating pork. It is a message that pork producers are desperate to get out.

“A lot of the (pork) producers are hanging by a thread,” Strother said. "It is extremely frustrating."

The industry was already suffering with rising feed costs. Strother said he knows pork producers who have gone out of business or who are barely getting by.

“It couldn't come at a worse time,” he said.

Ray said swine producers are currently losing more than $20 a head.

"North Carolina markets somewhere in the neighborhood of about 9 million head a year. (So) this is huge, huge to the economy of the state,” Ray said.

North Carolina ranks second in the nation for hog production, and more than 46,000 people in the state work in the industry.

Deborah M. Johnson, CEO of the NC Pork Council, said last month that about 25 hog farms in the state were sitting idle and another eight were on the brink of closing.

In addition to setbacks from H1N1, hog feed prices soared two years as the need for grain expanded to make bio-fuels. The recent economic crisis has made it nearly impossible to pass those costs on to consumers. 

24 Comments

This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • miketroll3572 Nov 5, 2009

    I still eat pork, just nothing with smithfield on it. Still boycotting them.

  • itsnews2me Nov 5, 2009

    ummm...a slice of pork tenderloin in a homemade buttermilk biscuit would be SO GOOD right now!

  • grimreaper Nov 5, 2009

    JuanGrande - another shining example of the public school system. Improperly educated doofs think they can catch swine flu from pork!

    Well, they are too busy teaching them to sing indoctinating Obama praise songs and have no time or liberal direction to teach practical matters. See, an uneducated population is an easily manipulated population...the NEA is not about education any more, they are about training for future manipulation.

  • DeathRow-IFeelYourPain-NOT Nov 5, 2009

    sophiemom, I'll eat a double portion of pulled pork at lunch. Thanks. I needed an excuse.

  • affirmativediversity Nov 5, 2009

    "The industry was already suffering with rising feed costs. Strother said he knows pork producers who have gone out of business or who are barely getting by."

    ==========================

    Gosh you'd think their increased cost for fuel was more than offset by their CRIMINAL MIGRANT LABOR!

    How's that Hope and Change thingy working out for you boys?

  • sophiemom Nov 5, 2009

    I would not eat pork, cows, birds if you paid me. Pork is a particularly disgusting sort of food.

  • vote4changeASAP Nov 5, 2009

    iron fist, FYI the Turky and Pork industry in NC alone has suffered tremendous losses, mainly due to the high costs of feed and the loss of some exports. China has finally lifed a ban they had on US pork (because of H1N1 even though we have established you can't contract the virus from eating pork). China is becoming increasingly competetive with the US in manufacturing and agriculture. It is reported that by 2018, China will be the world's largest pork producer.

    Do your fellow Tar Hell hog farmers a favor and just eat the pork.

  • Holy Carp. Nov 5, 2009

    "None of you are to bright," ironfist

    Hmmmm- According to your use of "to" neither are you.

  • vote4changeASAP Nov 5, 2009

    bonnie, ever heard of the middle man?

    What do you pay for boneless chicken breasts at the grocery store $/lb?

    The farmier MIGHT get $0.25 for the whole chicken.

  • iron fist Nov 5, 2009

    another shining example of the public school system. Improperly educated doofs think they can catch swine flu from pork!
    JuanGrande
    I haven't read a post on here that says anyone thinks you can get flu from eating pork. Maybe you mr doof should learn to read

More...