In the last six months, packers have shifted to offering market contracts that are less favorable to pork producers, says Ron Plain, University of Missouri economist. He recommends that you do not sign new long-term contracts until the offers improve. In all cases, have an attorney, economist or other consultant look over the provisions before signing.

“Contracts being offered are changing almost monthly,” Plain says. “Some of those contracts are not nearly as attractive today as they were.”

Even so, some lenders are pressuring pork producers to sign contracts because of past low prices. Plain says if you have to consider a contract right now, look at signing a six-month or year-long contract.

You can consider a longer-term contract again when packers have to become more aggressive to secure the hogs they need, he says. That should happen in the next six to 12 months, when “we’ll be at a better place in the hog cycle,” Plain says.

Of course there is some risk that packers will have their needs filled and you’ll be left to accept what’s left. But considering some of the current offers, it might be worth the risk.