Drought Hurting Pig Farmers

By: Hannah Saunders Email
By: Hannah Saunders Email

To make sure his pigs are just as pretty at this year's Jackson County Fair as they were last year, Donald Cockroft Jr. had to invest much more time and money into keeping them healthy.

"Due to the heat we had this year in the summer, it was just so hot that they couldn't gain the weight where they needed to for aspects of the show," said Cockroft.

But keeping the pigs chubby in this weather is costing him about another $75 a head in food. It's what is forcing many of Michigan's farmers to sell some or all of their pigs to the slaughterhouse early, but now there's another, bigger reason the drought is adding costs.

"The basic diet that pigs are fed is corn and soy bean meal," explained Michigan Pork Producers Association's Sam Hines. He says shortages of both those crops is causing costs to climb, and it won't come back down for another year and a half.

"Corn is currently at the highest price it's been in history ... at $8 a bushel," continued Hines.

It will be a scary couple of years for Cockroft, but unpredictability is all apart of being a farmer: "You just go year to year."

He will hold out on selling any of his 14 pigs for as long as he can.

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