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Pig farmers forced to sell up as drought and imports pressure Australian pork

A new report from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) describes how a combination of factors have led to hundreds of NSW pig farmers having to sell their stock and leave the pig industry.

29 July 2019, at 1:35pm

The report tells the story of one farmer in New South Wales (NSW) who is now one of very few pig producers left, still battling to maintain his business. According to the report, as many as 80 percent of NSW and Victorian pig producers have left the industry, primarily owing their struggles to the high cost of grain due to droughts and cheaper imported pork flooding the market causing low prices for pigs at the saleyard. It is reported that up to 95 percent of pork sold in supermarkets is imported from countries that subsidise their farmers, meanwhile, pig sales at saleyards are drastically declining.

Speaking to ABC, stock agent, Murray Reid, says that six months ago, around 600 pigs were being brought to each sale at the yard in Forbes, but recent sales have seen less than 200 pigs being brought in. The number of sales per month have also decreased and prices have taken a hit. At recent sales, producers have been receiving AUD$3.80 a kilogram for pork and around AUD$4.00 a kilogram for bacon - according to Mr Reid, this should be AUD$7 or $8/kg for pork.

"Now the farmers aren't making enough to even cover their costs," Mr Reid said to ABC.

The marketing and promotion of Australian pork has come under criticism, with some consumers complaining that it is too difficult to discern what is Australian pork and what is imported. Australian Pork Limited (APL) is currently investigating how it can further support Australian pork producers and is focussed on promoting Australian pork in cities where the bigger supermarket chains are prevalent.

APL has also started a country of origin labelling trial to determine whether consumers are encouraged to buy more Australian pork products.

Read the full article here.