PORK PROBLEMS: How decline in production affects Ark-La-Tex - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

PORK PROBLEMS: How decline in production affects Ark-La-Tex

Declining pork production has driven up prices around the country. Declining pork production has driven up prices around the country.
SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA/AP) -

A virus that has caused the deaths of millions of baby pigs in less than a year is also driving up pork prices.

In fact, it's threatening pork production and increasing prices by about 10 percent. Scientists are saying that porcine epidemic diarrhea, which only affects pigs, came from China. But they aren't sure how it got into the U.S. or spread to 27 states since May.

The pork price hike has hit home for husband and wife store owner team Alicia and Drew Andre. The Andre's opened up Bergeron's in Bossier City last August. "All of the recipes come from down south," said Alicia Andre and explained that pork is a huge staple in their South Louisiana recipes.

The Andres noticed two months ago, the price of pork spiked. "It is pretty tough to handle as a small business and it is pretty tough as a new small business," said Andre.

Nationwide, the price of pork has gone up by 10%. "Those prices have gone up, now it's just been a little bit, but it's definitely affecting us because the pork is such an important part of our business, it is in everything here," Andre said.

Now the couple is left trying to figure out how to deal with extra costs, without completely passing it on to their customers. "I mean we have people we build relationships with, so to do an increase in pricing, you feel bad," said Andre. So far, Alicia Andre says they've managed to raise prices a little and absorb the extra costs.

Now they are just trying to shop smarter, "We're trying to buy really low at this high cost, so when the price goes down, we won't be stuck with all of this high dollar meat on our shelves that we are trying to push," she said.

As far as how much their Easter hams will cost you, that is where the Andres find the silver lining. "We got really lucky! We were able to lock in some hams before that big price jump!" Andre said.

Alicia predicts prices won't go back down until after summer. "It's something that's affecting everyone, we're going to try our hardest so it doesn't affect our customers that much," she said. 

The U.S. is a top producer and exporter of pork, but production could drop about 7 percent this year over last. That would be the biggest drop in more than 30 years, a Rabobank report said.

Copyright 2014 KSLA. All rights reserved with contributions from The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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