Bringing Home The Bacon - KFYRTV.COM - Bismarck, ND - News, Weather, Sports

Bringing Home The Bacon

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In May of 2013 the first reports of Porcine Epidemic Diarrhoea otherwise known as PED began infecting pig heard in the Midwest.

The PED virus will be impacting consumers because if pig herds are reduced, shortages will happen. And those shortages will drive bacon and ham prices higher at the supermarket. Cloverdale Meats in Mandan processes 25 million pounds of pork product a year, and they're confident they can meet customer demand and control costs despite decreased numbers of pigs.

The assembly line at Cloverdale isn't slowing down. Even though the meat processor is well aware of the impacts the PED virus could have on their business. Cloverdale CEO T.J. Russell say, "The industry goes through 100-105 million pigs a year, and the PED virus has been devastating for sure. It's effected four, five, six, seven million pigs. So, we're working with a smaller number for sure."

Cloverdale is dealing with the shortage by investing in new automated equipment that makes processing more efficient and helps control rising prices that result from lower heard numbers.

"It's increase demand. It's actually been challenging to fill orders," says Sam Towner the director of operations at Cloverdale. "Out demand is very high being driven by these prices."

Demand has been so high, Cloverdale has hired 50 new employees. Even though prices have increase 40-45 percent. An increase in the size of pigs is helping to offset price spikes."

"What's working in the industry's favor is the net pounds coming out of a hog is a little more than it used to be," says T.J. Russell.

Another factor working in the industry's favor is the popularity of bacon.

"Love bacon. Even like hogs" says Leo Turnes. He is just one of many consumers who crave pork products.

"During a harvest season, BLT's are an everyday staple. My kids love bacon," says Annette Caldwell.

"I love bacon with toast and eggs." says bacon consumer Star Silk. She likes bacon served in tradition ways. But other people are getting more creative even though bacon prices have increased.

Towner recognizes the trend as well, "People are putting bacon on ice cream now. I don't think the demand is going away."

Easter is right around the corner, and people shouldn't be concerned they won't be able to put a ham on the table.

"Ham supply has been a little short going into Easter, but we've had enough to meet demand."

Cloverdale doesn't think restaurants or consumers will trim bacon from their menus, even though it's more expensive. And they're going everything they can to make sure customers can bring home the bacon.

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