Darian hog farmer concerned about Swine Flu news impact on prices
Submitted by Howard Owens on April 28, 2009 - 12:14pm
Commodity traders pushed down the price of hogs yesterday and the trend continues so far today, which has Charlie Miller, owner of Willow Ridge Farms in Darien, just a little worried.
Miller's operation sells 200 to 250 hogs every week, and the worldwide recession had already sent prices down from 80 cents per pound two months ago to around 70 cents. Yesterday, prices dropped to 66 cents.
The reason? Panic over Swine Flu.
Never mind that health officials state flat out that the disease cannot be transmitted from eating food. Commodity traders -- who place bets on the anticipated future price of items -- believe the flu scare will deepen a trend of over supply in pork.
Miller said as of this morning, the cash market, the current price of hog meat, had not yet been effected.
"We have six families involved in ownership and operations of the farm," Miller said. "When things don't go well in the market, it impacts more people beyond just individual needs. And it also impacts everybody we do business with."
The National Pork Producers Council reiterated points made by the National Center for Disease Control that eating pork cannot transmit the disease to humans. Further, there is no evidence that the current strain was contracted by humans from pigs.
Miller noted that the current outbreak shouldn't even be called Swine Flu because it is a different strain with more in common with Avian Flu. "It should be called North American Flu," he said.
The World Health Organization has identified only 79 cases worldwide, and the only reported deaths have been in Mexico, according to ABC Radio News.
"Often times things like this happen and people get worried and emotional," Miller said. "I encourage people to use the information from groups such as the Center for Disease Control to make their food-buying decisions."
Photo Illustration courtesy Flickr member The Pug Father.