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Wages, Input Costs and Supply Chain Problems Pushing up Pork Prices but Not Profits

University-level researchers say pork prices, not industry profits, are rising. Economists from Iowa State University and North Carolina State University released the report Tuesday with the National Pork Producers Council. The report shows prices are rising due to increased transportation costs, supply bottlenecks and delays and increased labor costs throughout the supply chain, caused or intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic. NPPC President Jen Sorenson says, “increased profits, whether at the retail, wholesale, or farm level, are likely not a significant contributor to the rising prices.” Other factors include a 2.5 percent loss in pork packing capacity that resulted from a federal court order stopping faster harvesting line speeds, higher energy costs, rising feed costs, and a shortage of workers, which hindered productivity and caused wages to increase. NPPC says the long-term outlook for labor, a critical factor in easing supply chain challenges and high prices, is dependent on future immigration policy and agricultural labor reform.

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