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WDAY: The News Leader

Published March 13, 2012, 10:24 PM

Area hog farmers enjoying record export prices

Hawley, MN (WDAY TV) - The next time you sit down to a delicious pork chop dinner, know this: The word is out around the world. The state of Minnesota now reports record exports this past quarter, and it has farmers to thank - specifically, Pork producers.

By: Kevin Wallevand, WDAY

The next time you sit down to a delicious pork chop dinner, know this: The word is out around the world. The state of Minnesota now reports record exports this past quarter, and it has farmers to thank - specifically, Pork producers.

These little piggies - more than a thousand - will not only go to market in several months, but they could end up on the other side of the world. That’s because Minnesota exported record amounts of pork to Asia this past quarter; specifically Japan and China, where exports of pork are up 84%.

Amon Baer – Hawley Poultry and Hog Producer: “It’s a combination of quality and availability and even though our costs of production are high, even by worldwide standards we have one of the lowest costs of production.”

The Baer families near Hawley are leaders in pork production in the area. Benedict Baer just got in these little pigs, 23 days old, just weaned from the sow. But the successful market right now is offset slightly by cost of production - feeding these little pigs.

Amon Baer: “It sounds real good. It is a lot higher historically we’ve been selling the last two years, hogs have been selling at the highest prices ever, but feed costs and other costs have gone up so high it’s still a struggle sometimes to make a reasonable profit.”

Benedikt Baer – Pork Producer: “It doesn't only start now, it starts with the sows. The sows need to be fed to produce this pig. If you are feeding them more expensive feed they become in more expensive coming in here.”

The hope now is that the cost of feed drops, because pork producers have some business to do. Projected demand calls for an increase of 500,000 metric tons of pork bound for export.

Another reason for high pork exports to Asia is disease in Chinese and Korean herds.

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