What Is Causing High Pork Prices?

Jun 23, 2021

While visiting the meat section at the grocery store this year, you may have noticed the prices of meat such as pork rising.

Ryan Larsen is a management extension specialist at Utah State University.

“Pork is generally a lower priced," he said. "Pork really competes with poultry or chicken. We usually like to say pork is a substitute of beef, right? If you can't afford the beef, buy pork. But we've seen the price support, jump up."

Meat prices are determined by economic trends; they fluctuate based on what is going on in the market. Pork is seen as a substitute for beef so when the price of beef jumps, people will look for a cheaper option. Pork has seen an increase in demand both domestically and export wise, causing the price to jump.

“We've seen the prices go up, but the price at the farm or ranch level has actually gone down," Larsen said. "A lot of ranchers are really concerned about how the how the price of meat is going up, but the price they receive for their livestock is going down.”

Aysha Maddox, owner of Maddox Farm in Malad, Idaho, raises a variety of livestock including pork, beef, and chicken to sell in Idaho and Utah. She said that part of the reason they rose the price of their pork is feed costs.

“They're omnivores," Maddox said. "So they do eat grain. I think in January when we got our feed, then I think it was just the end of February, when we got our net next batch, the price had gone up 30% and it was crazy.”

The Maddox family is trying not to raise their prices as much as possible.

“But we're really we're trying to ride it out and hoping that things will come back down," Maddox said. "If it doesn't come back down, then yeah, we're gonna have to raise our prices. Because we definitely want to stay in business.”