By JOSEPH HONG
With this holiday season coming up, many people are getting ready for the holiday season with delicious food; however, there is a slight problem. Hams are in short supply. Pigs this year weigh much more than they have in previous years due to farmers feeding them more to make up for the losses inflicted by the virus which recently killed millions of piglets. Heavier hogs mean more pork per animal, but unfortunately their hind legs exceed the maximum size used to produce seven pound spiral cut half hams.
The virus shrunk the population by 5.2%, affecting the size of the domestic herd and therefore the number of pigs slaughtered. Due to the outbreak of the porcine epidemic diarrhea virus, meat processors slaughtered 92.09 million hogs this year through November 15, down over 5 million from the 97.17 million last year, causing a spike in prices. In October of this year, the price of ham hocks was up 26% with a price of $3.43 a pound.